Patrick Swayze became a big star thanks to the 1987 classic Dirty dance. As well as being the lead co-actor alongside Jennifer Gray, Swayze showed off his incredible dancing and lent his singing skills to the film’s soundtrack.
Here is the story of how She is like the wind became a top 40 hit.
Patrick Swayze played Johnny Castle in ‘Dirty Dancing’
Dirty dance is a love story set in the early 1960s and stars Gray as Frances “Baby” Houseman and Swayze as Johnny Castle. While Baby is on vacation with her family at Kellerman’s Resort in the Catskills, she meets dance teacher Johnny.
When Johnny’s dance partner Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) becomes pregnant, Baby replaces her during a scheduled performance at a nearby beach resort. Johnny teaches baby to dance and the couple fall in love.
Young lovers face opposition to their budding romance from her parents. Baby comes from a wealthy, upper-class family, while Johnny is on the wrong side of the slopes. Ultimately, love reigns the day Johnny saves Baby from the “corner,” and the couple performs their dance with a successful lift at the late summer talent show.
‘Dirty Dancing’ soundtrack was an unexpected success
Dirty dance was a low-budget film made by Vestron Pictures, now defunct, which was to be released as a direct-to-video release.
But to almost everyone’s surprise, the film was a huge hit, grossing over $ 200 million (roughly $ 450 million in today’s dollars) at the box office.
The soundtrack was equally successful. The mix of old-timers from the early ’60s, Latin instrumentals, and new material from veteran artists who hadn’t been successful in years was an unexpected hit that sold 11 million copies.
The multi-platinum hit album remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Albums chart for four months.
Patrick Swayze wrote ‘She’s Like the Wind’ for another movie
Swayze’s romantic ballad She’s Like the Wind was part of the popular Dirty dance soundtrack. But, he actually wrote the song for a different movie. According to her co-writer – Nashville songwriter Stacy Widelitz – she and Swayze wrote the song in 1984 for the film. Grandview, United States.
âHe was a very musical guy, and we had discussions about music. He was making a movie called Grandview, United States with Jamie Lee Curtis and C. Thomas Howell, âsaid Widelitz The Tennessean.
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âHe called me because he knew I was writing music for TV at the time. He said, âI have this idea for a song. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I can’t do nothing with it, and they’re looking for songs for Grandview. Do you want to work on it with me? I said, ‘Yeah, sure. Come here.'”
The producers of ‘Dirty Dancing’ loved the song
Widelitz says she forgot about the song until two years later when she got a call from Swayze. He told her he was talking Dirty dance producers and screenwriters Eleanor Bergstein, who were looking for music for the film.
âPatrick called me from North Carolina, where they were making the movie in 1986, and said, ‘I played the demo of She is like the wind for producers of Dirty dance, and they really like it, and they want to use it, ârecalls Widelitz.
Patrick Swayze and his co-writer made money to write ‘She’s Like the Wind’
the Dirty dance the film’s budget was small, and the soundtrack’s budget was even smaller. But it ended up being a blessing for Swayze and Widelitz. Instead of getting money up front, they kept the publishing rights and made the money in the end.
âWord on the street was that it was a very low budget movie that was going to go straight to video after a week in the theater,â Widelitz explained. âThey also had very little money to pay (the use of the song). So my music agent made the deal for Patrick and me. And therefore, we have kept 100% of the edition. We have always owned the copyright, which has turned out to be a blessing. “
She’s Like the Wind reached number three on the Billboard charts in the United States. It also went on to become a platinum selling record for Swayze and Widelitz. Dirty dance is available to stream on Hulu.