Meaning of the song Up Where We Belong from the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman”

The soundtrack to Richard Gere’s “An Officer and a Gentleman” is composed of great compositions, but the real gem of the collection was Up Where We Belong, written specifically for the drama directed by Taylor Hackford.

The song, which was brilliantly sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, triumphantly climbed the top lines of the charts in several countries and was awarded the most prestigious awards.

History of Up Where We Belong

The lyrics were written by Will Jennings, the author of many other hits, including the world-famous My Heart Will Go On.

In an interview with, he spoke a bit about the history behind Up Where We Belong:

Joel Sill, who was in charge of Paramount’s music department, asked me to consider writing a song for this film. I saw a rough cut, loved the movie, and heard enough to make a song. I asked Joel to send me some rough sketches and stitched together the verse, chorus and part of the song and then wrote the lyrics…

Joel sent it to Stuart Levine, a good music producer, and we discussed the song over the phone with him. And he went into the studio and recorded a hit track with Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.

In the same interview, he clarified the main idea behind Up Where We Belong:

I’m from the working class myself, and these people in the film trying to make it big are my people. The image of a mountain means aspiration to the top. People often hear the text incorrectly. It sings “where eagles cry, on a high mountain”, and not “where eagles fly, on a high mountain”. If you have heard the cry of an eagle, its power and beauty and its wild freedom, you will know the difference.

As for “I only know what I feel”… Well, if nothing can tell you how to act in life, you have to rely only on feelings… If you go astray, you are left with only instinct and passion, which can guide you.

The music was composed by the authors of the script for the film, Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie, who later became a married couple.

For the role of singer Jennifer Warnes was offered by her producer, a friend of Taylor Hackford. The director initially refused, because the singer’s voice seemed to him “too mellifluous.” But the manager managed to interest him in the idea of ​​a duet with Cocker. John was on tour, but found time to break out to Los Angeles. He flew in just for a few hours, sang a song with Warnes and immediately went to continue the concerts.

It makes no sense to tell in which scene of the film the composition sounds. Better look – for the first or next time – a picture, because it’s worth it.

In 1982, Up Where We Belong was released as a single, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also topped the charts in Canada and Australia. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes received a Grammy for their performance. The authors of the song became the owners of the Golden Globe, Oscar and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Interesting Facts

  • From the idea of ​​the song to its recording and inclusion in the film, no more than one month passed.
  • Richard Gere recalled that he had goosebumps when he first saw the scene from the film edited with the song.
  • But producer Don Simpson insisted that it not be included in the soundtrack, because it seemed to him not hit enough.
  • The song has been featured in many films and television series, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, Moulin Rouge, The Simpsons, Santa Barbara, and South Park.

Up Where We Belong Lyrics

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it’s real, I keep it alive
The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to be used
Live their lives looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our lives, out there to find
The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Time goes by
no time to cry
Life’s you and I
Alive today

“Up Where We Belong” lyrics

Who knows what tomorrow will bring
Only a few hearts survive in the world
I only know what I feel
When feelings are real, I keep them
The road is long
Mountains on our way
But every day we take a step to the top

Love takes us where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a high mountain
Love takes us where we belong
Away from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow

Some cling to the past
Live, constantly looking back
And all that we have is here and now
Our whole life is over there
The road is long
Mountains on our way
But every day we take a step to the top

Time runs,
No time to cry
Life is you and me
We are alive today

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