#6: Winter Games by David Foster

City: Calgary, Alberta
Radio Station: CFCN
Peak Month: March 1988
Peak Position in Calgary ~ #1
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Winter Games

Born in 1949 in Victoria, British Columbia, when he was 13-years-old, David Foster enrolled in the University of Washington music program. In 1965, he auditioned to lead the band in an Edmonton nightclub owned by jazz musician Tommy Banks. Banks mentored Foster in jazz, producing records, and the music business. After a year, he decided to move to Toronto to play with Ronnie Hawkins. In 1966, he joined a backup band for Chuck Berry. In the late 60’s, Foster was also in a backup band for Bo Diddley. In 1971 David Forster formed Skylark. The band had a modest hit in Vancouver in 1972 with “What Would I Do Without You“. And in 1973, Skylark had a Top Ten hit titled “Wildflower”.

Foster moved to Los Angeles in 1974. He was a session musician in 1974 for Ringo Starr’s number-one hit “No No Song”; for two of George Harrison’s albums in the mid-70’s; Rod Stewart’s number-one hit in 1976 “Tonight’s The Night” and “You’re In My Heart”, “Hot Legs” and “I Was Only Joking”; Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” (1977); Glen Campbell’s number-one hit in 1977 “Southern Nights”; Olivia Newton-John’s “Deeper Than The Night” and “A Little More Love”; Alice Cooper’s “How You Gonna See Me Now”; and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland” and “After The Love Has Gone”. For the latter song, Foster was co-writer and received three Grammy Award nominations. “After The Love Has Gone” won for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. In 1980, David Foster was a session musician for Aretha Franklin’s 26th studio album, Aretha, and her #3 R&B hit “United Together”.

In 1980, David Foster co-wrote “Breakdown Dead Ahead” with Boz Scaggs. In 1981, David Foster was a session musician on the number-one hit for Patti LaBelle and James Ingram titled “Baby Come To Me”; and “Let’s Groove” for Earth, Wind & Fire; and “The Girl Is Mine” for Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney in 1983; And “We’ve Got Tonight” for Kenny Rogers & Sheena Easton. In 1982 he co-wrote and produced “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”, a number-one hit for Chicago. He was a session musician for Stevie Nicks’ #5 hit in 1982 titled “Stand Back”. In 1983, Foster won a Grammy Award for Best Show Cast Album for Dreamgirls: Original Broadway Cast Album. In 1983 Foster produced Lionel Ritchie’s album Can’t Slow Down. In 1985 Can’t Slow Down won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 1985, Foster won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals with his arrangement of “Hard Habit To Break” by Chicago. Foster also wrote another hit that year for Chicago titled “You’re The Inspiration”.

In 1987, Foster won another Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist with Barbra Streisand’s “Somewhere”. Ahead of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, David Foster wrote the theme song for the “Winter Games”.

Winter Games by David Foster

The 1988 Winter Games began on afternoon of February 13 with a $10 million opening ceremony in front of 60,000 spectators at McMahon Stadium that featured 5,500 performers, an aerial flyover by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds, the parade of nations and the release of 1,000 homing pigeons. David Foster performed the instrumental, “Winter Games”, and its vocal version “Can’t You Feel It?”. As well, among the performers, Gordon Lightfoot sang “Four Strong Winds” and Ian Tyson performed “Alberta Bound”. Governor General Jeanne Sauvé opened the Games on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. 1.5 billion people watched the ceremony. “Winter Games” carried a sense of anticipation, optimism and triumph in its instrumental arrangement. It caught on in Calgary and soon became a chart-topper in the host city for the Winter Olympics.

“Winter Games” peaked at #1 in Calgary, and #3 in Harrisburg (PA). The single also climbed into the Top 40 in Houston, Minneapolis/St.Paul and Kansas City.

Though the vocal version of “Winter Games” was not a charting single, the lyrics add to the sense of what the instrumental was expressing:

Now the moment we’ve waited for is coming true
And our hopes and our dream will soon go shining through
And the feeling we share this way
It’s the feeling we know is here to stay
And whatever may come, we’ll see it through remembering today.
Can’t you feel it ? The spirit surrounds you!
Don’t you feel it ? And now that it’s found in you
Won’t you feel it ? The feelings everywhere…

In 1992, David Foster won three Grammy Awards: Producer of the Year (non-classical), as producer for Record of the Year – “Unforgettable” by Natalie Cole; And as producer of Album of the Year – Unforgettable with Love… by Natalie Cole. In 1994 David Foster won there Grammy Awards: as producer for the Record of the Year by Whitney Houston titled “I Will Always Love You”, and Album of the Year – The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, and Celine Dion and Clive Griffin’s recording of “When I Fall In Love” in the category for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist. In 1996 Foster collaborated on the Atlanta Summer Olympics theme song “The Power Of A Dream”.

In 1997, Foster won a Grammy Award for producing Celine Dion’s album Falling Into You. He won a second Grammy Award that year for arranging Natalie Cole’s cover of “When I Fall In Love”. In 2008, Foster won a Grammy Award for producing Michael Buble’s Call Me Irresponsible and again in 2011 for Buble’s Crazy Love. Both were in the category for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

Over the years David Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards, and received an additional 31 Grammy nominations. He has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. As well, Foster has received three nominations for Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards. He won in 1998 for “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

In 2002, Foster composed the 2002 Winter Olympic theme song, “Light The Fire Within”.  More recently, Foster has collaborated on composing music for Boop! The Betty Boop Musical, that will open on Broadway in 2024. It will have its pre-Broadway premiere in Chicago at the CIBC Theatre from November 19 to December 31, 2023.

August 12, 2023
Ray McGinnis

Nat Freedland, “Skylark is Flying on ‘Flower Power‘,” Billboard, September 15, 1973.
David Foster Bio,” davidfoster.com.
David Foster & ensemble, “Can’t You Feel It“, 1988 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, Calgary, Alberta, February 13, 1988.
Eve Lazarus, “The House That Fostered David Foster,” eve lazarus.com, December 10, 2012.
Andrew Gans, “BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical Will Make Pre-Broadway World Premiere in Chicago,” Playbill.com, February 14, 2023.

Winter Games by David Foster

CFCN 1060 AM, Calgary, Alberta, March 6, 1988

One response to “Winter Games by David Foster”

  1. Tom Locke says:

    Wow. I probably have not heard this recording since it came out in 1988. At that time, I worked for Ampex Canada and we supplied the videotape replay machines for those Winter Games.

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