Wishing Well

Album: Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent d'Arby (1987)
Charted: 4 1


  • This song about young love was the first US hit for Terence Trent D'Arby, who changed his name to Sananda Maitreya in 2001. Regarding the name change, he told Songfacts: "TTD had died. His psyche had been shot full of so many arrows that he could no longer hold his spirit. After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity. Sananda Maitreya is an opportunity for me, this spirit, to live with a new psyche and use it to continue my work, the work I came to earth for."
  • The line, "I want to be your midnight rambler" is a reference to the Rolling Stones song. Says Maitreya: "I am a disciple of The Stones and their fathers the Chicago blues. I see my work and most of rock as an evolution of the roots and branches of the urban blues."
  • After a stint in the US Army, D'Arby moved to England and got a deal with CBS Records. For his first single, "If You Let Me Stay," he was paired with producer Howard Gray. The other nine tracks, including "Wishing Well," were produced by Martyn Ware of Heaven 17.
  • D'Arby caught on right away in England with his first single, "If You Let Me Stay." As a 25-year-old American (he's from New York) with a very distinctive look, he played very well on British music showcases like The Tube. That song reached #7 in the UK but stalled at #68 in America in November 1987. "Wishing Well" fared much better, and when MTV put the video in hot rotation, it began climbing the charts, reaching #1 on the R&B tally in April 1988 and on the Hot 100 in May.
  • D'Arby wrote this with Sean Oliver, who also played bass on the track. Oliver, who was in a band called Rip Rig & Panic with Neneh Cherry, died in 1990 from sickle-cell anemia in 1990.
  • The video was directed by Vaughan Arnell, whose credits include "Bodies" by Robbie Williams and "Say You'll Be There" by Spice Girls.

Comments: 5

  • Antonio from New York, NySince no one else is doing it, I'm going to come to the defense of TTD.

    John Lennon infamously said The Beatles "are more popular than Jesus". Later, he clarified what he meant and regretted saying it. The same holds true for TTD, who said his debut album was better than Sgt. Pepper's. Similarly, TTD retracted what he said and admitted it was foolish. Sometimes brash, young musicians say dumb things, that's all.

    In terms of chart-topping hits and staying in the public eye, TTD didn't live up to his own hype. His unique voice and style became irrelevant; drowned out in a sea of brilliantly marketed clones who happened to come along at a time when pop music largely degenerated. Since around the time of TTD's brief heyday, Pop/R&B/Soul so-called "artists" have rarely ventured beyond vapid songs about materialism and "bootys". In this sense, poetic musicians whose lyrics are full of wit, depth, and spirituality should be PROUD of not remaining relevant!

    As often happens, true talents that dare to stray "off the beaten path" continue to have a cult following. Unfortunately, they are often too complex to be palatable to the tastes of a finicky listening public. Take a look at the pop charts of the last ten years or so. Has what's "in" translated to creativity?

    Look, it is ignorant for anyone to say that TTD comes anywhere near the legacy of The Beatles. But give a fair hearing to his songs like "She Kissed Me", "Frankie & Johnny", "Holding On to You", "We Don't Have That Much Time Together", or "You Will Pay Tomorrow". Most likely, your evaluation of TTD will have changed. Yes, TTD's truly eclectic brand of neo-soul fell by the way side; much to the loss of popular R&B/Soul.

    I dare say TTD was ahead of his time.
  • Iztok from Kranj, Other - EuropeAnother good song he had was Dance little sister.
  • Billy from West Unity, OhJena, I could'nt agree with you more. I've seen over the years others who have said they would be bigger and better than The Beatles......Damn I can't think of who they were/are. Perhaps just a flash in the pan.
  • Eric from Bend, OrI thought Terrence Trent D'Arby was a one-hit wonder with this song. I never knew anything about him changing his name due to any trauma he had experienced.
  • Jena from Leavenworth, KsAnyone else remember Terrence Trent D'Arby saying (at the height of his fame) that he was going to be "bigger than The Beatles"? Whatever happened to that? Now the poor guy can't even get a comment about his biggest hit on Songfacts!;-)
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Edwin McCain

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Marvin Gaye

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?

James Bond Theme Songs

James Bond Theme SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the 007 theme songs?

James Williamson of Iggy & the Stooges

James Williamson of Iggy & the StoogesSongwriter Interviews

The Stooges guitarist (and producer of the Kill City album) talks about those early recordings and what really happened with David Bowie.

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.