Song Review: Bette Midler – “From a Distance”

“From a Distance” was released as a single from Bette Middler’s 1990 album, Some People’s Lives. The single was released on October 1, 1990, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. I just learned that Bette Midler’s version is actually a cover, and that “From a Distance” was originally recorded it and released the song in 1988.

I was 15 years old and was in the early months of my sophomore year of high school when Bette Midler released her version of “From a Distance.” I thought it was a beautiful song that was full of innocence, especially when it came to the lyrics. Like with Poison’s “Something to Believe In,” Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” was released right around the time of Operation Desert Shield. I think the verse about war really resonated with people back during that time, since war in Iraq seemed to be imminent. While I like “From a Distance,” I have a feeling that it probably wouldn’t have quite been the hit that it was if it hadn’t been for the events taking place in the Middle East at the time. I listened to the song for the first time in a long time right before writing up this post, and it actually made me feel kind of sad. The song has a message that the world could really use right now, but I think a lot of people are just so angry that they would turn a deaf ear to it today.

The music video includes shots of Bette Midler lip-syncing the song, intercut with footage of kids of various ethnic races and dressed in various costumes interacting with each other. The kids, of course, represent the peace and harmony that Bette sings about in the song. While the music video may not have been anything groundbreaking, it works well for the song and seemed to achieve what the director had been aiming for to bring the song to life.

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