This week we have been prompted with these words for Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by Jim Adams. “End, Finish, Over and Stop”. I found several that I really liked and decided to go with this wonderful song by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie. I have always been a huge Motown fan and this is an old favorite. I hope you enjoy it too.
This song was from the 1981 film of the same name starring Brooke Shields. The film, which was based on a best-selling novel of the same name, was not very successful, but the song received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and won a Marquee Award in 1982 for Best Original Song.
It ended up being one of the most popular songs of the ’80s, but it began with more modest ambitions. Lionel Richie had risen from saxophone player in the Commodores to lead vocalist and primary songwriter in the group. He was still with them when Endless Love director Franco Zeffirelli asked him to write an instrumental theme along the lines of Henry Mancini’s theme from the 1971 film Love Story. Richie, who was eager to add “film soundtrack” to his resumé, used a piece of music he had written for the Commodores but was never recorded. But then Zeffirelli decided he wanted lyrics. And that it should be a duet, maybe with Diana Ross. So Richie’s assignment went from devising an instrumental theme song to composing and performing on a fully-formed duet with the most popular female vocalist in America. He was up for the challenge. With lots of experience writing sentimental love songs, Richie penned some lyrics, using hyperbolic lines like “You’re every breath that I take,” befitting the movie title.
This was released on the Motown label, which was home to both artists (the Commodores were a Motown act, and Richie stayed on the label as a solo artist). Ross, though, left Motown two months before it was released, signing a $20 million deal with RCA. Motown made the most of what they had recorded from Ross, and included “Endless Love” on a Diana Ross compilation album called All the Great Hits, which was also released in 1981.
Getting the singers together to record this song was a challenge. They ended up meeting at a recording studio in Reno, Nevada in the early morning of May 8, 1981 following Ross’ concert in nearby Lake Tahoe (Richie came in from Los Angeles). The session began around 3:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, they had their vocals on tape.
Lionel Richie launched his solo career the year after this song was released. He leveraged the “endless love” theme on his first single, “Truly,” which finds him singing, “This love will last forever.” That was also a #1 hit.
Lyrics My love There's only you in my life, The only thing that's bright My first love You're every breath that I take You're every step I make And I, I-I-I, I want to share all my love with you No one else will do And your eyes, your eyes, your eyes, they tell me how much you care Ooh yes, you will always be My endless love Two hearts Two hearts that beat as one Our lives have just begun Forever, ohhh I'll hold you close in my arms I can't resist your charms And, love, oh, love, I'll be a fool for you, I'm sure You know I don't mind, oh, you know I don't mind 'Cause you, you mean the world to me, oh I know, I know I've found in you My endless love Ooh-whoa Boom boom Boom boom boom boom boom Boom boom boom boom boom Oooh, and, love, oh, love, I'll be that fool for you, I'm sure You know I don't mind, oh, you know I don't mind And yes, you'll be the only one 'Cause no one can deny This love I have inside And I'll give it all to you My love, my love, my love My endless love Written by Lionel Ritchie Backstory and lyrics Courtesy of Songfacts