One More Hour

Album: Ragtime soundtrack (1981)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song plays over the closing credits of the 1981 movie Ragtime, starring James Cagney and Elizabeth McGovern. The film is about a piano player in the early 1900s, so the song provides a fitting end, asking him to play one more sad song.
  • Randy Newman wrote this song, and also did the score for Ragtime. Newman had worked on films before, but this was his first of note (he scored the 1971 movie Cold Turkey, which did as well as the name implies). He went on to become one of the most successful film composers in history; his credits include The Natural, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Seabiscuit.
  • Jennifer Warnes at the time was best known for her 1977 hit "Right Time Of The Night", but she had been collaborating as a singer with Leonard Cohen since 1972, and in the '60s was a regular on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. This song got little airplay, but made her a top choice for film music. Her next effort, the Joe Cocker duet "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and a Gentleman, was a #1 hit, as was her Bill Medley duet from Dirty Dancing, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."
  • In a Songfacts interview with Jennifer Warnes, she talked about recording this song. "[Randy] called and said, 'Would you come down on Friday and sing on this song, it's just three notes. You'll learn it in a minute. Come on down and sing it.' I said, 'Sure.'

    So I went down, and there were four grand pianos, six upright basses, and an entire 120-piece orchestra. I was just appalled. I didn't think I could pull it off. I said, 'You're gonna have to conduct me, because I don't know where the tempo is. I don't know this song.' He wanted me in an unthinking performance.

    So I got in the booth and I sang it. Very easy. Very easy to do. I just followed his hand and I got it. And when they did the second take or the third take, I said, 'OK, you can stop waving your hands about.' He was so offended, because he was also conducting the orchestra. And that was very egotistical of me to say, 'Stop waving your hands in the air.'

    But we laughed about that later. And he was right, that if an artist really knows a genre, they don't need to study. You want that first Japanese brush stroke. That's what you want on tape. That's what he wanted and it was really great."
  • This got an Oscar nomination for Best Original song, losing to "'Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" ("Endless Love" and "For Your Eyes Only" were also nominated). Newman was also nominated for his score, marking the first two of his many Oscar nominations. "Up Where We Belong" won for Best Song the following year.
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