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Morning Song – Up Where We Belong

August 8, 2017

(One in a series of posts inspired by Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World.)

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

In the business and management worlds, it’s called “Miles’ Law”—named for Rufus E. Miles, Jr., a longtime federal bureaucrat who coined the phrase when working at the Bureau of the Budget during the Truman administration.

Something similar applies to songs. Their meaning can change depending on who’s singing and what the context is.  For example, Otis Redding didn’t write “Respect” as a feminist anthem…but that’s what it became when Aretha Franklin sang it.

So too with “Up Where We Belong”. In the voices of Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, playing over a literal “Hollywood-ending” as Richard Gere sweeps Debra Winger off her feet in final scene of An Officer & A Gentleman, it’s an award-winning romantic ballad.

When sung by its composer, Buffy Ste. Marie, an enrolled member of the Piapot Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada, “Up Where We Belong” reveals itself as a soaring affirmation of identity, dignity and peoplehood in a cruel and murderous world.

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 worlds we know,
Up where the clear winds blow.


From → Music

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