Street Life

Album: Street Life (1979)
Charted: 5 36

Songfacts®:

  • Crusaders pianist Joe Sample wrote this with the lyricist Will Jennings, who told Songfacts: "The lyric, all that came right off of Hollywood Boulevard. It's also been used in a lot of rap songs, some samples, they always do the chorus."
  • An inspiration for Sample was the beginner's ski slope at Mammoth Mountain in California. In a Reuters interview, Sample said, "I saw people falling, running into each other... it was absolute chaos. It looked like a boulevard of madness. And I said, 'That's what street life is."'
  • After growing up in East Texas where he taught school for four years, Jennings moved to Wisconsin and then to Nashville, where he became a full-time songwriter in 1971. Teaming with Troy Seals, he wrote 5 songs for Dobie Gray's Drift Away album, which led to a publishing deal with Irving Album Music (now Rondor Music) in Los Angeles, where Jennings moved in 1974. After writing hits for Barry Manilow ("Looks Like We Made It," "Somewhere In The Night") and Dionne Warwick ("I'll Never Love This Way Again"), Chuck Kaye, who ran the publishing company, put him together with Sample. Along with other members of The Crusaders, they wrote songs for B.B. King's album Midnight Believer before coming up with this song for The Crusaders, which proved to be their last hit. Jennings soon began work with Steve Winwood, writing songs for his comeback album Arc Of A Diver. In addition to most of Winwood's solo hits, Jennings also wrote lyrics for movie themes, including "Up Where We Belong" for An Officer And A Gentleman and "My Heart Will Go On" for Titanic. Over the years, Jennings has written with Eric Clapton, Roy Orbison, Jimmy Buffett and many others. He entered the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame in 2006. (Check out our interview with Will Jennings.)
  • Randy Crawford was a guest vocalist on the album and sang lead on this. She recorded another song Jennings wrote, "People Alone," for the 1980 movie The Competition and had a series of hits in Europe including "One Day I'll Fly Away," "Rainy Night In Georgia" and "Almaz."
  • This was featured in the 1981 Burt Reynolds movie Sharky's Machine and in Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 2

  • Mavis from Upper MidwestThis takes me back whenever I hear it to the city I’d just moved to the summer it was released.
  • Tracy from Houston, TxThis is another one of the many songs that was slated for Chaka Khan to sing,but given to someone else because of twisted record company politics at Warner Bros.
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