Wilbur H. "Will" Jennings (born June 27, 1944, in Kilgore, Texas) is an American songwriter who is popularly known for writing the lyrics for "My Heart Will Go On", the theme for the film Titanic (1997).
Life and education
He attended school just outside Tyler, Texas, in the nearby Chapel Hill Independent School District. He attended Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. In 1967, Jennings earned his B.A. from Stephen F. Austin State University, located in Nacogdoches, Texas. He later taught at and attended the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
Grammy and Academy Award-winning songwriter Will Jennings has written for a wide variety of recording artists. From English rock stars Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton to blues legend B. B. King and jazz legend Joe Sample, from beach troubadour Jimmy Buffett to American rock icon Roy Orbison, Jennings has written with and for many of the major stars on the world music scene. With Steve Winwood, Jennings wrote a series of hits and five albums, beginning with "While You See A Chance" and songs on the Arc Of A Diver album and continuing through the Back In The High Life album which contained the hits "Higher Love," "The Finer Things," and "Back In The High Life Again." Winwood won Grammies for Record Of The Year and Outstanding Male Vocal Performance and Jennings and Winwood were nominated for a Grammy for Song Of The Year for "Higher Love." With Joe Sample, Jennings wrote "Street Life"( a world-wide hit for the Crusaders with singer Randy Crawford) and several songs for various albums by the Crusaders for guest vocalists, including Joe Cocker ("I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today"), Bill Withers ("Soul Shadows"), and Nancy Wilson ("The Way It Goes"). Jennings and Sample also wrote the better part of three albums for B. B. King, Midnight Believer in 1978, Take It Home in 1979, and There Is Always One More Time in 1991. Richard Kerr and Jennings wrote three modern classics, "Somewhere In The Night" and "Looks Like We Made It' for Barry Manilow and "I'll Never Love This Way Again" for Dionne Warwick. Jennings has collaborated on many songs for films, the most notable songs being "Up Where We Belong," with Jack Nitzche and Buffy St.-Marie for An Officer And A Gentleman, which won the Academy Award in America and the BAFTA (British Academy Award) in England for the songwriters and was a number one hit for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, and, in 1997, the world-wide number one Céline Dion hit “My Heart Will Go On” for Titanic, for which Jennings and his collaborator James Horner won the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Song From A Motion Picture. Among his other collaborations were two albums written with Jimmy Buffett and Michael Utley for Jimmy Buffett, Riddles In The Sand and The Last Mango In Paris, and the Roy Orbison King Of Hearts album, containing several songs written with Orbison. In Nashville, Jennings wrote hits with Rodney Crowell, including "Many A Long And Lonesome Highway," "What Kind Of Love," which is a tune Jennings had started with Orbison and finished with Crowell and “Please Remember Me,” which was a number one country and top five pop hit for Tim McGraw in 1999. Jennings also wrote "Tears In Heaven" with Eric Clapton, which won a Grammy in 1993 for Song Of The Year and also won the Ivor Novello award (the British Grammy) for best song from a film. Teaming again with James Horner Jennings wrote the lyrics for the central song in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, “Where Are You Christmas?”, sung by a character within the film and by Faith Hill at the end of the film. And in the fall of 2002, Horner and Jennings contributed a song for the Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind.” In the fall of 2002, Peter Wolf’s new album, “Sleepless,” appeared to glowing reviews. The album features six new songs written by Jennings and Wolf, who collaborated previously on the critically acclaimed “Fool’s Parade” album which came out in 1999 on Mercury. Jennings and Joe Sample, keyboard player for the Crusaders and now a successful solo artist, go back to 1978 and began by writing the Midnight Believer album for B. B. King and then wrote the hit “Street Life” for the Crusaders album of the same name, the song sung on the album by Randy Crawford. A hit Jennings and Sample wrote twenty years ago, “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” originally sung by Crawford, was featured in the film Moulin Rouge, along with another of Jennings’s songs, “Up Where We Belong.” In the film “One Day I’ll Fly Away” is sung by Nicole Kidman and in late March 2002 was released as a single in England from the second soundtrack album to emerge from Moulin Rouge. After writing two songs for Peter Wolf’s 1996 Long Line album, Wolf and Jennings continued their collaborations and 2003 saw the Peter Wolf “Sleepless” album, which includes several songs written by Jennings and Wolf, in the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The pair continued with songs for the much praised 2010 album Midnight Souvenirs. Also in 2010 Jennings collaborated with Emmylou Harris on songs for her forthcoming album.
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