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Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer Warnes
Background information
Birth name Jennifer Jean Warnes
Born (1947-03-03) March 3, 1947
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Origin Anaheim, California, U.S.
Genres Country rock, pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer, concert performer, television performer
Years active 1967–present (singer, songwriter, arranger and producer)
Labels CISCO, BoxStar Impex Records, Shout Factory, Reprise, Parrot
Associated acts Bill Medley, Joe Cocker, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman
Website .comJenniferWarnes

Jennifer Jean Warnes (born March 3, 1947) is an American singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. Famous for her compositions, interpretations and her extensive repertoire as a vocalist on movie soundtracks, she is also a close friend and collaborator of Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen.


  • Early life 1
  • 1970s career 2
  • 1980s 3
  • Later career 4
  • Discography 5
    • Albums 5.1
    • Singles 5.2
    • Compilation albums 5.3
  • Other appearances 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Warnes was born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Anaheim, California.[1] Her desire and ability to sing came early; at age seven she was offered her first recording contract, which her father turned down. She sang in church and local pageants until age 17 when Warnes was offered an opera scholarship to Immaculate Heart College. She chose to sing folk music as it became popularized by Joan Baez in the mid-1960s. In 1968, after a few years with musical theatre and clubs, she signed with Parrot Records (a London Records subsidiary) and recorded her first LP. That year, she joined the cast of the television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Early in her career, industry advisors suggested she change her name to "Warren", but then realized that there was already an actress named Jennifer Warren, so she performed briefly as simply, "Jennifer". Soon, however, she returned to her birth name. In November 1968, Warnes (as "Jennifer Warren") portrayed the female lead in the Los Angeles, California production of the stage musical Hair. She had a related UK single release as "Jennifer" on London HLU 10278 in June 1969 with "Let The Sunshine In" and "Easy to Be Hard", licensed from the US Parrot label.

1970s career

In 1971, she met Canadian songwriter and poet, Leonard Cohen, and the two have remained lifelong friends. She toured Europe with Cohen's band in 1972 and 1979—first as a back-up singer and then as a vocal arranger and guest singer on Cohen's albums Live Songs (1973), Recent Songs (1979), Various Positions (1985), I'm Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 (2001), and Old Ideas (2012).[2] Warnes later (1987) recorded a critically acclaimed audiophile album of Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat.

In 1972, she released her third album, Jennifer, which was produced by John Cale and was completely unavailable after the LP was deleted until it was finally reissued in Japan in 2013 (Reprise WPCR-14865). In 1976 Warnes released the album Jennifer Warnes (Arista 4062) that contained her breakthrough single, "Right Time of the Night", which hit number 1 on Billboard's Easy Listening (Adult Contemporary) chart in April 1977 and number 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in May 1977.

Warnes recorded the song, "It Goes Like It Goes", for the 1979 motion picture, Norma Rae. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Her 1979 single, "I Know A Heartache When I See One", was a Top 10 Country hit and reached the Top 20 on both the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts.


Warnes recorded the Randy Newman composition "One More Hour" for the 1981 motion picture Ragtime. This became her second song performance nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Warnes teamed up with Joe Cocker to record "Up Where We Belong" for the 1982 motion picture An Officer and a Gentleman. Written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Will Jennings and Jack Nitzsche, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Golden Globe Award. The song also won Warnes and Cocker the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The 45 was released as a single and hit No. 1 (for three weeks running) on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. It stands as Jennifer's biggest selling disc, being certified platinum for over two million sales in the United States alone. The same year, she recorded a moving performance of James Taylor's "Millworker" for the American Playhouse PBS production of Working.

Warnes teamed with Bill Medley to record "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" for the 1987 motion picture Dirty Dancing. This marked the third song performed by Warnes to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and second for the Golden Globe Award in the same category. The song also won Warnes and Medley the Grammy Award for Duo or Group with Vocal. It reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 and spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

On September 30, 1987, at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, she contributed background vocals for Roy Orbison's star-studded television special Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.

She recorded a duet version with B. J. Thomas of the song "As Long As We've Got Each Other", the theme for the TV show Growing Pains. It was used as the opening theme until the fourth season, when the song was once again re-recorded with Thomas and Dusty Springfield. However, it made its return for the fifth and final seasons of the show.

In 1985, she recorded vocals for Leonard Cohen's record Various Positions, getting equal vocals credits with Cohen in the inside booklet. After releasing a praised tribute LP of Leonard Cohen's songs in 1987, Famous Blue Raincoat, to which Cohen contributed two new compositions, "First We Take Manhattan", which featured Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar, and "Ain't No Cure for Love", she contributed vocals to Cohen's 1988 hit LP I'm Your Man, most notably to "Take This Waltz" and "Tower of Song".

Later career

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. The Hunter was re-released in 2009, and The Well was re-released in September 2010.

All remasters were issued on high quality vinyl and 24K gold discs. Famous Blue Raincoat was released with four bonus tracks. The Hunter was released without bonus material. The re-released The Well, however, contains a total of 14 tracks. These include two previously unreleased recordings from the original session: "La Luna Brilla", "A Fool for the Look (in Your Eyes)", and one extra bonus selection, "Show Me the Light" (a second duet with Bill Medley, which was originally featured on the 1998 movie soundtrack Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-The Movie).

Warnes has contributed to tribute recordings to Ian Tyson, Warren Zevon and Alejandro Escovedo. In 2009, she conducted a much awaited tour of the west and northwest, and was in top vocal form singing CD favorites and new material. In 2010, Warnes started work on a new solo recording of original and cover songs at Capitol Records. The title of this album had not been revealed as of June 2010, nor had a release date for it been announced by that time. In September 2011, Warnes toured Canada. In September – October 2012, she toured selected venues in Canada and the U.S.

In 2013, Japanese Reprise finally reissued her legendary third album (the 1972 John Cale produced album), making its first appearance on CD. It was stated on her web page that she is working on a new cd produced by Roscoe Beck, to be released in 2015



Year Album Peak chart positions[3][4] Label
US US Country CAN UK[5]
1968 I Can Remember Everything Parrot
1969 See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me
1972 Jennifer Reprise
1976 Jennifer Warnes 43 26 Arista
1979 Shot Through The Heart 94 13
1987 Famous Blue Raincoat 72 8 33 Cypress
1992 The Hunter 76 Private Music
2001 The Well Music Force/Cisco


Year Single Peak chart positions[3][4] Album
US AC US Country CAN CAN AC CAN Country UK[5]
1969 "Easy to Be Hard" 128 See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me
1976 "Right Time of the Night" 6 1 17 3 1 18 Jennifer Warnes
1977 "I'm Dreaming" 50 9 67 6
1979 "I Know a Heartache When I See One" 19 14 10 46 12 Shot Through the Heart
"Don't Make Me Over" 67 36 84
1980 "When the Feeling Comes Around" 45 15
1981 "Could It Be Love" 47 13 57 The Best of Jennifer Warnes
1982 "Come to Me" 107 40
"Up Where We Belong" (duet with Joe Cocker) 1 3 1 2 7 An Officer and a Gentleman
1983 "Nights Are Forever" 105 8 Twilight Zone
"All the Right Moves" (duet with Chris Thompson) 85 19 5 All the Right Moves (soundtrack)
"Simply Meant To Be" (duet with Gary Morris) 3 1 2 7 Blind Date
1987 "Ain't No Cure for Love" 86 23 1 17 Famous Blue Raincoat
"First We Take Manhattan" 29 43 6 74
"Bird on the Wire" 16
"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (duet with Bill Medley) 1 1 1 3 6 Dirty Dancing
1992 "Rock You Gently" 13 50 7 The Hunter
"True Emotion" 43
1993 "The Whole of the Moon" 49

Compilation albums

Other appearances

Year Song / Album
1982 Bert Jansch, Heartbreak
1988 Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night
1994 "Up Where We Belong" (live version with Joe Cocker)Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume III[7]
1989 When the Winter's Gone (Song for a Stranger)/Urban Daydreams (David Benoit) Written with David Pack and David Benoit


  1. ^ "Biography". Porch Light LLC. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Death of a Ladies' Man (1979) [CD booklet]. New York: CBS Records Inc. The liner notes for the album note that Warnes performed all harmony vocals on the album, including the duet.
  3. ^ a b "Discography". Porch Light LLC. Retrieved November 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Jennifer Warnes > Discography".  
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 591.  
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 954.  
  7. ^ "Grammy's Greatest Moments, Volume III: Various Artists". Retrieved 2011-11-23. 

External links

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