“Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman , may be wedding standard now, but back in this Just a gorgeous tune wafting through the mind of Canadian-American singer-songwriter Buffy St. Mary.
“I wrote the melodies on the piano and just played the music myself for fun,” Sainte-Marie, 964, tell THR. “It just popped into my head like a song.”
When composer Jack Nitzsche approached her to collaborate on the Officer soundtrack, She played him “my melodies, hooks and bridges, but no words yet.” Director Taylor Hackford then brought in lyricist Will Jennings, who watched By the end of the scene — when Richard Gere’s naval officer is picking up Debra Winger’s factory worker — he’d conceived a song about love soaring to the point where “the eagle crows high on the mountain.”
It was Hackford’s friend Gary George (former PR executive at Warner Bros. Records) who suggested that his client Jennifer Warnes sing the song; it was Warnes who suggested a duet with Joe Cocker “Jack and I weren’t invited to the recording, but what they did there was magical,” said St. Mary, noting producer “Stuart Levine’s perfect arrangement into a towering but utterly natural Duet.
Paramount heads Michael Eisner and Don Simpson “hate the record and say it will never be a big hit ,” Hackford once said. But it took 23 weeks 1983, three of which were No. 1. It also won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1983 Award, making Sainte-Marie the first Indigenous artist to win one. (She is Piapot Cree Nation.)
“Walking around Hollywood on Oscar night, holding myself while eating pizza It felt very surreal,” she recalls. “It wasn’t until recently that anyone mentioned that I was the first home-grown Oscar winner. Taika Waititi – Māori from New Zealand – It took another 23 years to win Jojo Rabbit . Cherokee Wes Studi recently received an honorary Academy Award for his work. While Taika, Wes and I all have unique and distant life experiences, all three of us are active supporters of other Aboriginal artists who tell our stories in film. “
This story first appeared in May 38 Issue of The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE 2023