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Encyclopedia > From a Distance
"From a Distance"

Cover of the 19907" single by Bette Midler
Written by Julie Gold
Published 1987
Language English
Original artist Nanci Griffith
Recorded by Nanci Griffith

Bette Midler Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... In music, a single is a short (usually ten minutes or less) record, usually featuring one or two tracks as A-sides, often accompanied by several B-sides—usually remixes or other songs. ... Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress, and comedian, also known to her fans as The Divine Miss M. She is named after the actress Bette Davis although Davis pronounced her first name in two syllables, and Midler uses one. ... Julie Gold is a singer. ... Depiction of Nanci Griffith on the cover of her album Flyer Nanci Caroline Griffith, (born July 6, 1953 in Seguin, Texas) is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. ... Depiction of Nanci Griffith on the cover of her album Flyer Nanci Caroline Griffith, (born July 6, 1953 in Seguin, Texas) is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. ... Lone Star State of Mind is Nanci Griffiths fifth album, and her first with a major recording label. ... One Fair Summer Evening is Nanci Griffiths seventh album, and her first one recorded in a live setting. ... Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress, and comedian, also known to her fans as The Divine Miss M. She is named after the actress Bette Davis although Davis pronounced her first name in two syllables, and Midler uses one. ...

Julie Gold Some Peoples Lives is a cd released in 1990 involving Bette Midler ... Cool Yule is a holiday album by Bette Midler released on October 10, 2006. ... Julie Gold is a singer. ...

  • 1992, Live at the Bottom Line 1991 (Fast Folk compilation)
  • 1998 Dream Loud

Others (selected): Fast Folk Musical Magazine (originally known as The Co-op), was a combination magazine and record album published from February 1982 to 1997. ...

The song, "From a Distance" was written in 1985 by American singer-songwriter Julie Gold. Gold was working as a secretary at the time for HBO and writing songs in her free time. [1] Gold's friend, Christine Lavin introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who first recorded for her 1987 release, Lone Star State of Mind. It quickly became a favorite of Griffith's fans around the world. The song became an international commercial success after it was recorded in 1990 by Bette Midler for the album Some People's Lives, and went on to win a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991. Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb on 14 October 1940) is an English singer, actor and businessman. ... There are several people named Michael Ball: Michael Ball (singer), a singer and actor Michael Ball (footballer), an English football (soccer) player Category: ... Judy Collins Judith Marjorie Collins (born May 1, 1939 in Seattle, Washington) is an American folk and standards singer. ... The Byrds (formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1964) were an American rock band. ... Kathy Mattea Kathy Mattea, full name Kathleen Alice Mattea (born June 21, 1959 in South Charleston, West Virginia), is a female country music and bluegrass performer who often brings celtic sounds to her music, particularly with her release of Love Travels, one of her most critically popular albums. ... Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ... The term singer-songwriter refers to performers who both write and sing their own material. ... Julie Gold is a singer. ... For other uses, see Secretary (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see HBO (disambiguation). ... Christine Lavin is a New York City based singer, songwriter, and promoter of contemporary folk music. ... Depiction of Nanci Griffith on the cover of her album Flyer Nanci Caroline Griffith, (born July 6, 1953 in Seguin, Texas) is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. ... Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ... Lone Star State of Mind is Nanci Griffiths fifth album, and her first with a major recording label. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress, and comedian, also known to her fans as The Divine Miss M. She is named after the actress Bette Davis although Davis pronounced her first name in two syllables, and Midler uses one. ... Some Peoples Lives is a cd released in 1990 involving Bette Midler ... Grammy Award statuette The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy (an association of Americans professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding achievements in the recording industry, is one of four major music awards shows held annually in the United States (the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music... The Song of the Year is one of the two most prestigious awards in the Grammies, if not in all of the American music industry. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ...


Bette Midler re-recorded a christmas version for her 2006 Christmas Album, Cool Yule, with additional lyrics by Midler, Robbie Buchanan and Jay Landers. Additional recordings of the original have been performed by Gold, Griffith, Simon Nicol (of Fairport Convention) and many others. The song has also been sung by a number of childrens' school choirs. Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Cool Yule is a holiday album by Bette Midler released on October 10, 2006. ... Robbie Buchanan is a Canadian keyboardist and songwriter. ... Simon John Breckenridge Nicol, born October 13, 1950, Muswell Hill, North London is an English folk rock guitarist and singer. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Somewhat ironically, much of the song's popularity coincided with the first Persian Gulf War. It received a "Minute Man Award" from the United States Army for inspiring the troops and a "Seven Seals Award" from the Department of Defense. For other uses, see Iraq war (disambiguation). ... The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The song also won a "3 Million Airs Award" from BMI. Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) is a collecting society that protects composers intellectual property in the communications business, especially radio. ...

Contents

Interpretation

Julie Gold is on record as believing in an iminent and beneficent God and she is also on record as thinking that people have a right to interpret the song any way they want as with all art.[2] She has stated that the song is about the difference between how things appear to be and how they really are.[2]


The original notion may have been that a potentially harmonious world filled with hope and peace is perceivable when one stands back and looks at things 'from a distance'. God, from a similar perspective, 'is watching' everything we do. It is not clear from these words that God is actively watching over us in a caring way or merely viewing what we do from a critical standpoint, but presumably God also hears the same harmony and songs 'from a distance'.


Another interpretation is that the perception of love and peace only exists "from a distance" and that the up close reality is not being addressed. It suggests that God doesn't actually act on our problems, and is only an observer. From a distance "no one is in need," and "there are no hungry mouths to feed." "God is watching us from a distance." In other words, God is so far from human experience as to not be able to see, and thus respond, to hunger or need.


Charts

Date Recording artist Country Chart Peak
1990 Bette Midler US Billboard Adult Contemporary 1
1990 Bette Midler US The Billboard Hot 100 2
Oct 1990 Cliff Richard UK UK Singles Chart 11
Dec 1990 Bette Midler US ARC Weekly Top 40 1
Jan 1991 Bette Midler Australia ARIA Chart 3
June 1991 Bette Midler UK UK Singles Chart 6

The Bette Midler album, Some People's Lives also peaked at number 6 in the Billboard 200. Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress, and comedian, also known to her fans as The Divine Miss M. She is named after the actress Bette Davis although Davis pronounced her first name in two syllables, and Midler uses one. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... The Adult Contemporary chart (formerly known as Adult Contemporary Singles) lists the most popular songs weekly calculated by airplay and occasionally sales. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... The Billboard Hot 100 is the main U.S. singles popularity chart used by Billboard magazine. ... Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb on 14 October 1940) is an English singer, actor and businessman. ... “British Hit Singles” redirects here. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... The ARC Weekly Top 40 is an American mainstream music chart. ... The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) is a trade group representing the Australian recording industry. ... “British Hit Singles” redirects here. ... The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. ...


Put-downs and parodies

The Bette Midler recording of the song ranked at number 37 on VH1's list of the "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever." [3] and ranked at number 14 on Blender Magazine's list of "The 50 Worst Songs Ever". [4] Criticisms focus on the song's lyrical content and the production of Midler's version, suggesting the single offers "liberal homilies, stiff rhymes and more sound F/X than a Mel Gibson movie." [4] Blender's editors declare the "Worst Moment" to result from the use of the drum machine, stating, "If God exists, He probably hates drum machines." [4] VH1 (VH-1: Video Hits One until 1994) is an American cable television channel that was created in January 1985 by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and owners of MTV. VH1 and sister channel MTV are currently part of the MTV Networks division... Blender is an American magazine that bills itself as the ultimate guide to music and more. ... Sound effects or audio effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasize artistic or other content of movies, video games, music, or other media. ... Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American born Australian actor, director, and producer. ... A Boss DR-202 Drum Machine A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums and/or other percussion instruments. ...


In 1992, singer-songwriter Jay Mankita wrote a parody, "From a Dog's Stance", which appeared in Sing Out! magazine and was later included on his recording, Dogs Are Watching Us. [5] Mankita adopts the viewpoint of the canine rather than the divine: The term singer-songwriter refers to performers who both write and sing their own material. ... Jay Mankita is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. ... Sing Out! is a quarterly journal of folk music and folk songs that has been published since May 1950. ...

Cover of Jay Mankita's album, Dogs Are Watching Us, which includes the parody song, "From a Dog's Stance".
Cover of Jay Mankita's album, Dogs Are Watching Us, which includes the parody song, "From a Dog's Stance".
From a dog's stance, we all have enough...
so why not give dogs more?
From a dog's stance, dogs can't comprehend...
what all these cats are for.
From a dog's stance, we are waitresses...
marching to the kitchen now.
Bringing bowls of food...Make that "people" food...
That's the stance of every dog. [5]

The song has also been satirized by singer-songwriter Sue Trainor in her "In a Closeup". [6] According to a Washington Post review, "Trainor seems to genuinely admire 'From a Distance', Julie Gold's anthem of universal brotherhood, for she treats the hymn-like melody with great respect. She changes the lyrics, though, and instead of waxing poetic about the beauty of the world 'from a distance', she points out how flawed it all looks 'in a closeup'." [7] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... ...


External links

The All Music Guide (AMG) is a metadata database about music, owned by All Media Guide. ... Songfacts is a website devoted to song information compiled by music enthusiasts, radio professionals and songwriters, who are often interviewed to determine the stories behind their songs. ...

Notes and sources

  1. ^ official Julie Gold Biography
  2. ^ a b "Julie Gold and Her Songs", Here on Earth - Radio Without Borders, Wisconsin Public Radio, February 19, 2005 (audio)
  3. ^ VH1 "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever" countdown
  4. ^ a b c "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!" by John Aizlewood, Clark Collis, Steve Kandell, Ben Mitchell, Tony Power, James Slaughter, Rob Tannenbaum, Mim Udovitch, Rene Vienet and Jonah Weiner, Blender (view article)
  5. ^ a b "From a Dog's Stance" lyrics from official Jay Mankita web site
  6. ^ In a Closeup, album by Sue Trainor
  7. ^ "Trainor's Reverent Poke at Folk" by Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post, April 30, 1993

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