The very popular song, “The Greatest Love of All,” was originally written for George Benson in the late 70s by Michael Masser and Linda Creed. Benson’s performance of Masser and Creed’s song was first included in the movie, The Greatest. A movie starring Muhammed Ali as himself — if you can imagine how difficult that must have been. You know, being great already at punching people’s faces, and then portraying yourself as the greatest.
The song’s core meaning was driven by one of the composer’s battle with breast cancer in the late 70s. It peaked pretty well for Benson in 1977 (#2 on the R&B billboard Charts), but it took a young Whitney Houston to cover the song on her debut record.
It became an international hit that launched the young Houston into pop stardom and endless parties, accolades, etc. She would go on to star in a reality TV show with ex-husband Bobby Brown for a short time before planning a comeback for most of the 2000s. Houston eventually died in February 2012 from a drug overdose.
The song’s original co-composer, Linda Creed, died in 1986 after succumbing to years of battling cancer. Note that this is the same year Houston recorded the song. Sad karma surrounding this song didn’t stop there.
Gordon Lightfoot, a critically acclaimed Canadian songwriter who wrote songs for Johnny Cash, Elvis and so many more— and had a few radio hits himself— filed a lawsuit against the song’s composer(s) in 1987 claiming that Masser stole 24 bars from Lightfoot’s 1969 hit, If You could Read My Mind.
“It really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t want the present-day generation to think that I stole my song from him,” claimed Lightfoot.
Take a listen to Lightfoot’s version below. It’s pretty obvious to spot the 24 bars that Lightfoot’s lawsuit was based on.
Many people have associated the song with love, children, making them, spreading the love. However, the song’s popularity revealed deep layers of sadness soaked in cancer battles, composition thievery, and cold, hard true facts about a pathetic love song that millions of people everywhere love for all the wrong reasons.
We’re with you, Mr. Lightfoot. Why would you want anyone to think you’re associated at all with Masser and Creed’s song? It’s a song that starts off hopefully with those famous words:
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
And leads to the self-defeated, pathetic chorus with:
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
Me, me, me. Congratulations to millions of people who think this song is about making more children.
The Greatest Love of All is one of pop music’s greatest turds that no one can seem to flush away for good, forever, bye bye and pet those puppies. So fed up with most of you. Fucking amateurs— ponies!
words © 2012 andywhorehall.com