Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Morning After - Maureen McGovern

Maureen McGovern
(J. Hirschhorn, A. Kasha) 20th Century-Fox TK 4985


Chart Entry: 12th May, 1973
Highest Position: #2
Points: 102,724
From the soundtrack album
"The Poseidon Adventure".


The mother of all 70's disaster movies gave Maureen McGovern a chance to hang up her secretary gloves and briefly become the darling of Oscar's Best Song award. The Poseidon Adventure was undoubtedly the biggest movie of 1973, doubling the earnings of Deliverance, the second biggest for the year. By the end of 1974, The Poseidon Adventure was among the six biggest movies of all time, a list including Gone With The Wind, The Sound Of Music, The Godfather, Love Story, and the disaster movie that started the 70's trend off, Airport. So any song featured in a film that big was certain to be a success.

"The Morning After" featured in the films opening scenes as passengers on the SS Poseidon prepared themselves for a New Years party they would never forget. Carol Lynley played the ships' resident singer, Nonnie Parry, who performed "The Morning After" as part of the nights entertainment. Of course, it was lip-synced by Carol, Renee Armand providing the actual vocals for the film version. Nonnie survived two hours of life threatening obstacles to be one of the six survivors of the tidal wave disaster.

20th Century Records boss, Russ Regan was shopping around for a vocalist to bring "The Morning After" to the singles market. Barbra Streisand was the obvious choice at the time, but she was too busy with her own projects to even consider the offer. The answer to his woes had already been provided months before when a secretary and part-time Folk singer, Maureen McGovern gave him a demo tape of a few songs she had recorded. After fishing out the tape again, Russ had no hesitation to hire Maureen to record the song, despite not even knowing what she looked like.

Maureen McGovern had recorded and released "The Morning After" during The Poseidon Adventure's run at the box office, but still the single went unnoticed as far as the charts were concerned. A Best Song win at the 1973 Oscar's hurtled "The Morning After" to the top of the US Billboard charts, and almost repeated the success on the Australian Go-Set charts, stalling at #2. The timing of her success was perfect, counter balancing her own personal problems including a divorce and the news of her mothers' diagnosis with colon cancer. While "The Morning After" has been labelled a "generic song of hope", it has its believers, Maureen finding strength from hundreds of letters describing her fans' own problems, and news that her song has helped them cope with their misfortunes.

Maureen continued her Oscars success two years later when the theme from another disaster movie, The Towering Inferno, took out the Best Song prize for "We May Never Love Like This Again". The single was released to include "Wherever Love Takes Me" from the British disaster film, Gold, a song also nominated for the same award. While the US largely ignored the release, Australia remained faithful enough the give Maureen another Top 5 hit. Maureen later released "Can You Read My Mind" from the 1978 film, Superman. Maureen McGovern was certainly the figure of hope in a world of disaster.

Maureen's chart success subsided after the 70's, but she has achieved critical success over the years, including a couple of Grammy nominations towards the end of the 90's. 2008 saw her release an album of covers called The Long And Winding Road, a collection that she currently tours with since its release. Oh, and Maureen was able to turn the tables on those disaster movies she became so associated with. She played the hilarious singing nun in 1980's disaster spoof, Flying High.


Chart Run: (26 weeks in Top 100)
(Go-Set Charts)

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