Album: Talking Back To The Night (1982)
Charted: 19 9
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  • Valerie is a mysterious woman, cool like jazz on a summer's day. Winwood wrote the music and Will Jennings wrote the lyric. In a Songfacts interview with Jennings, he explained: "Valerie is a real person, whose identity I will not reveal. She was almost at the top of the world in her profession and let it slip away from her. She was a dear friend and this was my tribute to her."
  • Steve Winwood's solo career was picking up steam at this point. In the '60s, he made a name for himself in the Spencer Davis Group when he was still a teenager. His next stop was Traffic, then Blind Faith, then Traffic again. He spent about three years working on his first, self-titled solo album, which was released in 1977 and got little attention. Arc of a Diver arrived in 1980 with the modest hit "While You See a Chance," also written by Will Jennings. "Valerie" was the hit from his next album, Talking Back to the Night. His next one, Back in the High Life, made him a fixture on Pop and Adult Contemporary radio.
  • When this song was first released in 1982, it went to #51 in the UK and #70 in the US. In 1987, it was remixed by Tom Lord Alge with revised drum and vocal tracks for the 1987 Steve Winwood compilation album Chronicles, and again released as a single. This time, it went to #19 in the UK and #9 in the US.

    In 2004, the song was remixed once again, this time by the Swedish DJ Eric Prydz as "Call On Me." This version was a monster hit across Europe, going to #1 in the UK, Germany, and several other countries.

Comments: 11

  • Mwal from SydneyThis song featured in miami vice poignant
    Just ahead of all the rest
  • Eighties Has Been from The WestAnd it turned out to be Valerie Carter
  • Carla from ArkansasWill Jennings wrote this about Valerie Carter, the same woman Jackson Browne sings about in “That Girl Could Sing”.
  • David from Orlando, FlThough I enjoy a lot of Steve Winwood's music, especially from his solo run of success in the 1980's, Valerie stands out, specifically the original 1982 song. The chorus is catchy yet simultaneously poignant while Steve's high-wire passion holds a jazzy tune together in a tight formation. I also enjoy the music video for the original version with special wind effects (in animation form), Steve playing keyboard much of the time, and an actress/model portraying the title character. I really though she effectively captured the complex emotions of Valerie - beautiful, young, innocent, naïve, and plagued by mysterious troubling problems. Kudos as well to lyricist Will Jennings for his witty word usage which blended with Steve's music to deliver song magic time and again during the Winwood solo heyday. According to Wikipedia, Will reportedly based Valerie on singer/songwriter Valerie Carter, whose promising career was plagued be drugs, though she has since graduated from a drug program. Though more people may have enjoyed the remix version in 1987 (along with its updated video), I personally prefer the simpler tune and video that started its running history.
  • Steve from Torrance, CaOne of the greatest musical evocations of summer ever written, this is the song that made me a Steve Winwood fan. More than just a song about a long lost love, it's also about nostalgia, sentimentalism, and a longing for the past to return. Before they became weighed down with the burden of celebrity, hipness, and self-consciousness, Will Jennings' lyrics were much more abstract and open to interpretation, like these. It's hard to hear this song without also thinking of the wonderful artwork (credit: Tony Wright) of the Talking Back to the Night album. Love that Mini-Moog! In memory of Valerie Boyens Armstrong
  • Claire from Miller's, MdI personally know a Valerie and her name is spelt the same way as the song:)
  • Larry from Coral Springs, FlThis song has a great sound and beat. Everytime i hear the name..i think of my fave actress
  • Ben from Gosford, AustraliaSteve Winwood has a sexy voice. 'Nuff said.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesAlthough the song only reached No.51 in the UK ion 1982, in 1987 it was re-released and peaked at No.19. Steve Winwood also had solo Top 20 hits in the UK with "While You See A Chance" and "Night Train", while in the mid-1960s he had 12 UK Top 30 hits as lead singer of The Spencer Davis Group (two of which, "Keep On Running" and "Somebody Help Me" topped the charts in the UK in 1965). After leaving The Spencer Davis Group in the late 1960s, Stevie went on to form the critically acclaimed blues-rock band Traffic, who were hugely successful in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and, alongside his solo career, with whom Stevie continued to record on-and-off until 1996
  • Mark from Ascension Island,so. AtlanticGreat song, I like all of Winwoods songs though...Thanks
  • Alan from Singapore, Singapore"Call On Me" was a smash dance track hit in 2004 by Sweden's Eric Prydz. He sampled some lines from "Valerie". It seems that when Steve Winwood heard the remix he thought it was so good, he not only gave his permission to use the samples, he even re-recorded his vocals especially for the track.
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