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"You Light Up My Life" is a ballad written by Joseph "Joe" Brooks, and originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack album to the 1977 film of the same name.[1] The song was lip synced in the film by its lead actress, Didi Conn. The best-known version of the song is a cover by Debby Boone, the daughter of singer Pat Boone. It held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks in 1977, setting a new record for that time. She topped Record World magazine's Top 100 Singles Chart for a record of 13 weeks.[2]

"You Light Up My Life"
Kasey Cisyk - You Light Up My Life (cover).jpg
Single by Kasey Cisyk
(credited to Original Cast)
from the album You Light Up My Life: Original Soundtrack
A-side
  • "You Light Up My Life"
  • (instrumental)
ReleasedAugust 16, 1977 (Charted the week of September 3)
Format7" single
Recorded1977
GenrePop
Length3:29
LabelArista
Songwriter(s)Joe Brooks[1]
Producer(s)Joe Brooks

Contents

Original Cast soundtrack recordingEdit

Cisyk's original soundtrack recording was included on the film's soundtrack album, and later released as a single to bolster sales of the soundtrack album after Debby Boone included her version on her first solo album (also titled You Light Up My Life). Although the soundtrack album was certified Gold, peaking at #17 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, it never included Boone's hit single version of the song.

Cisyk's single was credited to "Original Cast", not to Cisyk herself, and even though Brooks is listed on the A-side of the single, the "Original Cast" B-side charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and only reached #80. Brooks also released an instrumental version of the song from the soundtrack as a promotional single, but that version failed to chart.

Following the success of Boone's version, the song earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award.[1]

Track listingEdit

  • 7" vinyl single
  1. "You Light Up My Life" (Instrumental) — 3:02
  2. "You Light Up My Life" (Original Cast) — 3:29

Chart performance (Original Cast single)Edit

The Joseph Brooks controversiesEdit

In a 2013 biographical essay about Cisyk,[3] Cisyk's second husband, Ed Rakowicz (who worked as a sound engineer, but not for this song), wrote that songwriter Brooks was initially pleased with Cisyk's recording of the song with orchestra (and her version appeared in the movie and soundtrack) but "tried to evade payment by false promises and by asking her to be an incidental actor in his film, implying huge rewards yet to come..."[3] Rackowicz claimed that Brooks made improper advances toward Cisyk, that after being rebuffed, he refused to speak directly to her again, and that he continued to evade payments to her while commissioning another recording with Debby Boone. According to Rackowicz, "Besides wanting Boone to copy Kacey's [sic][4] iconic hit reading of his songs, Brooks needed to cover up Kacey's vocal leakage in the microphones in the piano recorded at the original demo session on which was overdubbed the orchestral track used in the film. Brooks didn't want to pay to re-record the piano and orchestra again."[3] In a 2003 interview with Entertainment Weekly Magazine, Boone admitted, "I had no freedom whatsoever. Joe told me exactly how to sing it and imitate every inflection from the original recording."[5] Cisyk later retained a lawyer and sued Brooks for the fees she had earned for her work on the record and for credit on the soundtrack, which she later received.[3]

Debby Boone cover versionEdit

"You Light Up My Life"
 
Single by Debby Boone
from the album You Light Up My Life
B-side"Hasta Mañana"
ReleasedAugust 16, 1977
Format7" single
RecordedApril 1977
Genre
Length3:35
LabelWarner Bros.-Curb
Songwriter(s)Joe Brooks[1]
Producer(s)Joe Brooks
Debby Boone singles chronology
"You Light Up My Life"
(1977)
"California"
(1978)

In 1977, Debby Boone, Pat Boone's daughter, recorded the song under the guidance of Curb Records executive Mike Curb[7] and songwriter Joseph Brooks.[5] Boone recorded her vocals over a pre-existing instrumental track that Brooks already had developed for the film's soundtrack[7]. The song was released as both a Warner-Curb Records single and as the title track to her first solo album, You Light Up My Life, which she released on Warner Bros. Records, Curb Records' parent label.

The single was an enormous success. It became the biggest single of the 1970s in the United States[8], setting a new Billboard Hot 100 record for most weeks spent at Number One. Elvis Presley's double-sided hit "Don't Be Cruel/ Hound Dog," then recognized as the longest-running Number One song of the rock era, spent eleven weeks atop the Billboard Best Sellers chart in 1956, before the 1958 debut of the Hot 100. The previous Hot 100 record was held by Percy Faith's recording of "Theme from A Summer Place" (1960) and The Beatles's "Hey Jude" (1968), both of which remained at #1 for nine weeks.[9] The ten-week record was matched in 1982 by Olivia Newton-John's "Physical,"[10] but was not surpassed until a 1991 change in chart methodology allowed songs to achieve longer reigns at #1. In 1992, "End of the Road," by Boyz II Men, would set the new record with 13 weeks.[11]

Besting her chart performance in Billboard, Boone's "You Light Up My Life" single topped Record World's Top 100 Singles Chart for an unbroken record of 13 weeks.[12] On Billboard's chart, Boone was unseated from #1 by the Bee Gees, with "How Deep Is Your Love," the first of three #1 singles from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. On Record World's chart, Boone kept the Bee Gees out of the number-one spot. In Cash Box Magazine, "You Light Up My Life" managed only an eight-week stay at the top of the chart, before being dethroned by Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue".

The single, which was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and reached #4 on the Country chart. The single peaked at #48 I'm the UK Singles Chart.[13] Boone's hit single led to her winning the 1978 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, with additional Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Record of the Year. Boone also won the 1977 American Music Award for Favorite Pop Single.

Decades after its release, the Debby Boone version is still considered one of the top ten Billboard Hot 100 songs of all time. In 2008, it was ranked at #7 on Billboard's "Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs" list (August 1958 - July 2008).[7] An updated version of the all-time list in 2013 ranked the song at #9.[14]

Although it was written by Brooks as a love song, the devout Boone interpreted it as inspirational and proclaimed that it was instead God who "lit up her life." This fact was later alluded to when the song appeared in The Simpsons episode "I Married Marge," Season 3, Episode 12.

Track listingEdit

  • 7" vinyl single
  1. "You Light Up My Life"* – 3:35
  2. "Hasta Mañana"** – 3:12

* Note: Produced and arranged by Joe Brooks.
** Note: Produced by Mike Curb and arranged by Al Capps.

Chart performance (Debby Boone single)Edit

LeAnn Rimes cover versionEdit

"You Light Up My Life"
 
Single by LeAnn Rimes
from the album You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs
B-side"I Believe"
ReleasedAugust 26, 1997
FormatCD single
Recorded1996
GenreCountry
Length3:37
LabelCurb
Songwriter(s)Joe Brooks[1]
Producer(s)Mike Curb
Chuck Howard
Wilbur C. Rimes
LeAnn Rimes singles chronology
"How Do I Live"
(1997)
"You Light Up My Life"
(1997)
"On the Side of Angels"
(1998)

LeAnn Rimes released her own version of "You Light Up My Life" as a single in 1997, 20 years after Boone's version was released, and on the same record label, the Warner Brothers Records label's Curb Records label. Her version fared modestly by comparison to the original at radio (No. 34 Pop, No. 48 Country). However, her single was certified gold and was the title track to her No. 1 pop and country album, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs.

Track listingEdit

  1. "You Light Up My Life"* – 3:37
  2. "I Believe"** – 2:22

* Note: Produced by Wilbur C. Rimes, Chuck Howard and Mike Curb.[21]
** Note: Produced by Wilbur C. Rimes.[21]

Chart performance (LeAnn Rimes single)Edit

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[22] 57
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 34
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[24] 48

Other live and recorded versionsEdit

Many artists have covered "You Light Up My Life" since 1977.

Charts (2006) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 171

In other mediaEdit

"You Light Up My Life" became a running joke in an episode of Girlfriends (titled "Can't Stan Ya!"). Maya and Stan (who had been seeing each other) share a kiss; she feels guilty afterwards and decides to break things off with him to focus on her marriage. While attempting to do this, Stan serenades her with the song and doesn't allow Maya to break her news to him. Lynn offers to tell Stan on Maya's behalf (in exchange for Maya to talk her mother in reducing Lynn's rent on the garage); she then sings the song to Maya as a form of blackmail. At the episode's end, Maya arrives home where Darnell - and Stan - are now playing a video game (a hurt and angry Stan has decided to "befriend" Darnell to get back at Maya). Stan starts to hum the song during the game, prompting Darnell to join him. Darnell then exclaims "You Light Up My Life! Maya, you remember that? That used to be your mama's jam back in the day!"

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ "Top 100 Singles Chart for 1/7/1978" (PDF). Record World. 35 #1591: 29. January 7, 1978.
  3. ^ a b c d Kvitka’s Biography by Ed Rakowicz, 2013 Accessed Jan 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Rakowicz's biography consistently spells the Americanized version of his wife's name as "Kacey" rather than "Kasey."
  5. ^ a b Brown, Scott (21 February 2003). "The Light Stuff". Entertainment Weekly. pp. 76–78.
  6. ^ "VH1's 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. SpinMedia. May 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (10-01)". Billboard. July 2008. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Worst Songs of the 1970s: 4 – Debby Boone – 'You Light Up My Life'". New York City: Rolling Stone. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  9. ^ Bronson, Fred (1 October 2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 939. ISBN 978-0823076772.
  10. ^ Bronson, p. 550.
  11. ^ Bronson, pp. 938-939.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Singles Chart for 1/7/1978" (PDF). Record World. 35 #1591: 29. January 7, 1978.
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ Bronson, Fred (2 August 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Debby Boone Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  17. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  18. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1978". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  20. ^ "You Light Up My Life / I Believe: Leann Rimes: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  21. ^ a b You Light Up My Life / I Believe (CD single). LeAnn Rimes. Curb Records. 1997. D2-73027.CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 3346." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 6, 1997. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  23. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Cover versions of You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone". SecondHandSongs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  26. ^ "Video of the Day: Patti Smith Sings "You Light Up My Life" to Kids". Retrieved 24 February 2014.