A couple years ago, I was driving home from an appointment headed west into the setting sun and towards my house. Suddenly, the song "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood came on the radio. It's a song from 1986 (that totally ages me) I have heard many times, but in that moment it felt like I was hearing it for the first time!
This time was different than all the others. As, I listened to the words and sang along at the top of my lungs (best accomplished when you are alone in your car with the windows up) I could almost hear my own private gospel choir sitting in my back seat. I felt warm Light come down through the sun roof and pour all over me, especially during the lyrics,
"Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be"
It was so powerful, I felt that in that moment the Light did something incredible to my spirit, soul, and body. It was the most amazing euphoria and I felt like I could fly. I had goosebumps from head to toe until the very last note faded into the commercial break.
Since that day, every time that song comes on I turn it up and the same thing happens (only if I'm singing along). As you've seen in past posts what I've shared about the power of words and music - this was truly some kind of powerful reasoning, prayer request, and declaration all in one.
Now, I've heard other beautiful arrangements of the song that I have since downloaded that have pierced my soul, but something about the original 1987 radio version (With Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan) opens up the windows of Heaven and I feel that light flood over me. Watching the video is fun, but it lessens the effect compared to when I'm just listening with my ears without visual distractions.
I've posted the lyrics below and some videos you might enjoy, as well as some research I did on the song writer and the story behind the song. Scroll down to see more.
Here is the only video I could find of Steve and Chaka performing together. They look like they are having a lot fun.
Here is a beautiful, recent version of Steve and his daughter.
Here is the full 1987 version that Pandora always plays when I request this song. This version turned up loud is the one I recommend. I especially love to sing it when I'm cleaning the kitchen. Can't help but raise my hands and dance on the "higher love" part. :)
And I know this is a little unrelated, but while watching these videos this next video popped up. It was from a 2005 gospel brunch hosted by Oprah Winfrey. It features a freestyle solo of LDS legendary R&B artist Gladys Knight. As these legendary stars came together in musical worship of the Lord something powerful happened. I felt it so strong, I watched the video a few more times. Just wanted to share as an added bonus.
I love how the power of music can bring so many different people together. There's something almost supernatural about it, especially when they come together in worship of the Lord.
So, back to the story behind the song."Higher Love" was Steve Winwood's first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, topping the chart for one week. Steve Winwood is an English musician with a successful solo career, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
It turns out that Steve Winwood wrote the music for "Higher Love" but not the lyrics. The lyrics were written by Will Jennings, an Academy, Golden Globe, and Grammy Award winning song writer. Will was born in Kilgore, Texas. When I read "Texas" it made sense to the southern gospel feel of the song.
In an interview about the song, Jennings said,
"I was born in East Texas and my mother and father's families were from Arkansas and the generations before were from the Deep South. My father's father was a Methodist preacher, a circuit rider, in Arkansas. My earliest memories are of the music in church and of my aunts and uncles singing the beautiful old hymns. 'Higher Love' is a generation past that, when things were not so much taken for granted, so that one has to plea, 'Bring me a higher love,' and the lines are all trying to explain why there must be higher love. A modern hymn, you might call it."