Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer Warnes

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Jennifer Warnes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Jennifer Jean Warnes
Born = birth date and age|1947|03|03
Origin = Seattle, Washington, United States
Genre = Pop, Country
Associated_acts = Joe Cocker, Bill Medley, Leonard Cohen
Occupation = Singer, songwriter, record producer
Years_active = 1968–present (singer)
Label = Raven Records, Private Music Records
URL = [ Official Website]

Jennifer Jean Warnes (born March 3 1947 in Seattle, Washington) is an American singer and songwriter. She is best known for her rich alto voice, her interpretations of work by James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, and Buffy Sainte Marie, and for her association with the soundtracks of a number of popular films during the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Her biggest hits were "Up Where We Belong" (a duet with Joe Cocker, from the 1982 film "An Officer and a Gentleman") and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", (a duet with Bill Medley from the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing"), both of which topped the "Billboard" pop singles chart, and the countryish "Right Time of the Night", which reached the top ten in 1977.


Her desire and ability to sing came early and at age seven she was offered her first recording contract, which her father turned down. However, she did make a spectacular professional debut. Wrapped in the American flag, and accompanied by 350 accordions, nine-year-old Warnes sang The Star Spangled Banner at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.

After graduating from high school she was offered an opera scholarship but chose to sing folk songs, popular at the time. In 1968 she signed with Parrot Records (a Decca subsidiary) and recorded her first LP. That same year, she joined the cast of the television show, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."

Early in her career, she was told by industry advisers that her surname "Warnes" was too difficult and suggested that she change it to the more common "Warren". As this eventually led to confusion with actress Jennifer Warren, she adopted the stage name "Jennifer" (no last name) briefly in the 1960s, and subsequently returned to "Jennifer Warnes" as her professional name.

In November 1968, Warnes (known then as "Jennifer Warren") signed on to play the female lead, "Sheila" in the Los Angeles, California production of the stage musical "Hair."

In 1970 she met Canadian poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen who profoundly influenced her career and became a life-long friend. She would eventually tour Europe with Cohen's band as a back-up singer and would record guest vocals for Cohen's albums "Live Songs," "Various Positions," "I'm Your Man," and "The Future." Cohen's "Recent Songs" included a duet on "The Smokey Life". In 1972, Reprise released her third album, "Jennifer" produced by John Cale. To date, it has never been reissued. In January 1987, Warnes released her critically acclaimed album ";" Cohen himself performed with her as a guest vocalist on two of the songs featured.

Her breakthrough single "Right Time of the Night", released in 1976, brought her worldwide acclaim with the song hitting No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and No. 6 on the Hot 100 in May 1977. It just missed the million-selling mark (selling over 900,000 copies). The song also plays in the background of a scene from the film "When Harry Met Sally...."

A few years later, she sang the Academy Award winner for Best Original Song "It Goes Like It Goes" from the motion picture "Norma Rae" (1979).

Warnes' 1981 song "One More Hour", written and composed by Randy Newman and recorded as part of the soundtrack album from the motion picture "Ragtime," was nominated for an Academy Award.

The following year she teamed with Joe Cocker to sing "Up Where We Belong". Written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Will Jennings and Jack Nitzsche for the motion picture "An Officer and a Gentleman," the song would be released as a single and hit No. 1 (for three weeks running) on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and stands as Warnes' biggest selling disc ever, being certified 'Platinum' for sales of 2 million in the United States alone. The same year she recorded a moving performance of James Taylor's "Millworker" in the "American Playhouse" production of "Working," based on the book written by Studs Terkel (who also hosted the production), on PBS.

In 1983, she and Cocker won the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Up Where We Belong", while earning the songwriters (Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings) the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In 1988, at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, she sang background vocals with k.d. lang and Bonnie Raitt for Roy Orbison's television special "A Black and White Night."

That same year, her duet with Bill Medley, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", was included on the "Dirty Dancing" motion picture soundtrack album and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was also certified 'Gold' for 1 million U.S. sales.

She performed many songs for film and sang a duet with B. J. Thomas, "As Long As We've Got Each Other", as the theme for "Growing Pains."

In August 2007, the Shout Factory Records label re-released the 20th anniversary edition of "Famous Blue Raincoat," with a 24-page booklet and four additional songs. Jennifer also contributed to a tribute album of Ian Tyson songs.


* "I Can Remember Everything" — 1968
* "See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me" — 1969
* "Jennifer" — 1972 (Produced by John Cale)
* "Jennifer Warnes" — 1976 US #43
* " Shot Through The Heart" — 1979 US #94
* "The Best of Jennifer Warnes" — 1982 US #47
* "Famous Blue Raincoat" — 1987 US #72 / UK #33
* "Just Jennifer" — (England) 1992
* "The Hunter" — 1992
* "Best: First We Take Manhattan" — (Germany) 2000
* "The Well" — 2001
* " Famous Blue Raincoat- 20th Anniversary Edition-2007

Selected singles

* 1976: "Right Time of the Night" US #6 Pop, #1 AC, #17 Country
* 1977: "I'm Dreaming" US #50 Pop, #9 AC
* 1979: "I Know A Heartache When I See One" US #19 Pop, #14 AC, #10 Country
* 1979: "Don't Make Me Over" US #67 Pop, #36 AC
* 1980: "When The Feeling Comes Around" US #45 Pop, #15 AC
* 1981: "Could It Be Love" US #47 Pop, #13 AC
* 1982: "Come To Me" US #107 Pop, #40 AC
* 1982: "Up Where We Belong" (duet with Joe Cocker) US #1 Pop, #3 AC (Platinum) / UK #7
* 1983: "Nights Are Forever" US #105 Pop, #8 AC
* 1983: "All The Right Moves" (duet with Chris Thompson) US #85 Pop, #19 AC
* 1985: "As Long As We've Got Each Other" (duet with B. J. Thomas), used only in the opening titles of "Growing Pains" and not commercially released
* 1987: "First We Take Manhattan" US #29 AC / UK #74
* 1987: "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (duet with Bill Medley) US #1 Pop, #1 AC (Gold) / UK #6 (charted at UK #8 in a reissue in 1990)
* 1992: "Rock You Gently" US #13 AC
* 1992: "True Emotion" US #43 AC
* 1993: "The Whole Of The Moon" US #49 AC

References and external links

* [ Official site]
* [ Famous Blue Raincoat]
* Discography Lyrics

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