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The backing track for "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" was recorded on July 6, 1967 at Columbia's studios in Chicago. Produced by Carl Davis, the session – arranged by Sonny Sanders – featured bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen, guitarist Robert White, and keyboardistJohnny Griffith; these four musicians were all members of the Motown Records house band The Funk Brothers who often moonlighted on sessions for Davis to augment the meager wages paid by Motown. According to Carl Davis, the Funk Brothers "used to come over on the weekends from Detroit. They’d load up in the van and come over to Chicago, and I would pay ‘em double scale, and I’d pay ‘em in cash." Similarly two of Motown's house session singers The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow, along with Pat Lewis (who was filling in for Andante Louvain Demps), performed on the session for "Higher and Higher".
Davis brought the track to New York City for Wilson to add his vocal; Davis recalls Wilson originally sang the song "like a soul ballad. I said that's totally wrong. You have to jump and go with the percussion...if he didn't want to sing it that way, I would put my voice on the record and sell millions". After hearing Davis' advisement Wilson cut the lead vocal for "...Higher and Higher" in a single take.
Released in August 1967, "Higher and Higher" reached #1 R&B and in November peaked on the Pop charts at #6.
In the UK Wilson's "Higher and Higher" would be a hit in 1969 (#11), 1975 (#25), and 1987 (#15).
Columbia Records released a Higher and Higher album in November 1967: its chart peak was #163 (#28 R&B).
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|"(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher"|
|Single by Rita Coolidge|
|from the album 'Anytime...Anywhere'|
|B-side||originally "I Don't Want to Talk About It" replaced on later pressings with "Who's To Bless And Who's To Blame"|
|Writer(s)||Billy Davis, Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner and Carl Smith|
|Rita Coolidge singles chronology|
Rita Coolidge remade the song as "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" for her 1977 album Anytime...Anywhere. Coolidge's version "...Higher and Higher" is more mid-tempo than the driving original and largely omits the chorus which is evidenced only in the background vocals sung under the repetition of the first verse with which Coolidge closes the song.
Coolidge and her sister Priscilla Jones had sung background on a version of the song for a prospective album by Jones' husband Booker T. Jones; when that album was shelved Coolidge asked Booker T. Jones if she could cut the song using his arrangement.
Released as a single, "...Higher and Higher" became Coolidge's first major hit in nine years of recording: the track peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind Best of My Love by The Emotions– Cash Box ranked it at #1 – with appeal to light rock stations (#5 Easy Listening).
In the UK "...Higher and Higher" was released as the follow-up single after "We're All Alone" which had reached #6 but "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" only achieved a peak of #48 UK.
|Preceded by||Cash Box #1 on Top 100 Singles chart
September 10, 1977
In 1970, the song was recorded -- under the title "Higher and Higher" -- by Canada Goose, a group from Ottawa who'd been discovered by Jerry Ragovoy. This version, with a shared lead vocal by Barbra Bullard and John Matthews, became a hit in Canada (#44) and reached #92 on the Record World 100 Pop Chart.
2008 saw the song – as "Higher and Higher" – chart in Sweden due to Kevin Borg, the eventual winner of Idol, Season 8. Performing it in the competition, downloads of Borg's version secured it a #29 ranking.