The Morning After

Album: The Morning After (1973)
Charted: 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn for the Oscar-winning movie The Poseidon Adventure, starring Gene Hackman. The original title of the song was "Why Must There Be a Morning After?"
  • In the movie, this was sung by Renee Amand, with Carol Lynley lip-synching to it in front of the camera.
  • This won the Oscar for Best Song, 1972. In addition, The Poseidon Adventure won the Best Special Effects Oscar.
  • During the spring of 1972, Russ Regan (the head of 20th Century Records at the time) began looking for someone to record "The Morning After" for the singles market. He originally offered the song to Barbra Streisand, but she turned it down in favor of other projects. He then remembered hearing (months before) a demo tape from a secretary who was a part-time folk singer (and who had never made a record before) named Maureen McGovern. Regan liked her voice so much, that he immediately hired her sight unseen to record the song.
  • Upon initial release, the McGovern version was ignored, but after the Oscar presentation, the public wanted a copy of "that song." It started climbing the charts in the summer of 1973, a year after McGovern recorded it.
  • McGovern performed another Oscar-winning song, "We May Never Love This Way Again," in 1974's The Towering Inferno, but the single didn't make the Top 40. Nor did Superman's "Can You Read My Mind" in 1979, but her theme song from the TV series Angie ("Different Worlds") managed to reach #18 that year.
  • Ironically, when this song gave McGovern a healthy professional life as a singer, her private life was in shambles. She was going through a lawsuit with her first manager; she was divorcing her husband; and she found out that her mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Since then, McGovern has received letters from people telling her how much this "generic hope song" (as many people call it) helped them cope with the downside of life, which has helped her realize in later years how meaningful the song really is. Many years after the release of this song, McGovern became involved in organizations to help people realize how music can heal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • Decades after the song was first released it started showing up in movies and TV series, as its association with The Poseidon Adventure dissipated. Movies it appeared in include:

    Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)
    Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
    The Ice Storm (1997)

    Among the TV series:

    The X-Files ("Nothing Lasts Forever" - 2018)
    King of the Hill ("Pour Some Sugar on Kahn" - 2008)
    The Simpsons ("The Wettest Stories Ever Told," 2006 and "A Streetcar Named Marge," 1992)
    Family Guy ("Don't Make Me Over" - 2005)

    It was also used in the first episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse in 2018, where a disparate group of people are gathered in an outpost after a nuclear war. Unsure who is controlling their environment, they are heartened with this song starts playing, assuming it is a sign. The second episode is titled "The Morning After."
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Comments: 7

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 13th 1974, Maureen McGovern performed "The Morning After"* on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Ten months earlier on July 29th, 1973 it had peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    It reached #6 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    As stated above, it won the Oscar for 'Best Original Song'; one of the other songs nominated also had peaked at #1 on the Top 100, "Ben" by Michael Jackson...
    * I assume that the reason she did "The Morning After" on the 'Bandstand' show was because she didn't have another record on the chart at the time {but I may be wrong}.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxAs it was with 'Superman' and Margot Kidder, her rendition of the song should have been in the movie instead of the lame vocalist who dubbed Carol Lynley (It wasn't her voice.). I remember the first time I heard this song (I was 10.) and I thought someone else was harmonizing with MM near the end instead of MM herself, singing that line in a higher octave. She had such great range.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyMaureen McGovern sang 'Morning After' in 1973, a year later Millie Jackson asked 'How Do You Feel The Morning After?' {Her song peaked at No. 77} In 1961 The Mar-Keys peaked at No. 3 with 'Last Night', their follow up record was titled 'Morning After' {it was an instrumental and peaked at No. 60}...

    77/74 HOW DO YOU FELL THE MORNING AFTER by MILLIE JACKSON
  • Michael from Columbus, OhI love Maureen, she is one of my customers, and she gave me her new cd she just released titled---"The Long And Winding Road" -- She is the bomb
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnMaureen McGovern's version was definitely one of the big hits of the summer of '73.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaThe version in the film was awful. Fitting, i guess.
  • Joel from Los Angeles, CaThis was very informative. I'm the co-writer of "The Morning After" (with Al Kasha), and I didn't know that Maureen was going through a lawsuit when the record was a hit -- nor did I know she had been married. Thanks for the update.
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