Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

(I've Had) The Time of My Life

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Released  September 1987
Recorded  1987
B-side  "Love Is Strange"by Mickey & Sylvia
Format  7" single, 12" maxi,cassette, CD single
Genre  Soft rock, Adult contemporary
Length  4:47 [LP & Single Version]6:46 [Extended]

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" is a 1987 song composed by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz. It was recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, and used as the theme song for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. The song has won a number of awards, including an Academy Award for "Best Original Song", a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song", and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.



Singer-songwriter Previte was the lead singer of the band Franke and the Knockouts. He had success with the song "Sweetheart" in 1981, but by 1986 was without a recording contract. In late 1986 or early 1987, producer and head of Millennium Records, Jimmy Ienner, asked Previte about writing some music for "a little movie called Dirty Dancing". Previte initially turned the request down because he was still trying to get a record deal, but Ienner was persistent, and got Previte to write several songs for the film, including "Hungry Eyes", later recorded by singer Eric Carmen, which also became a top 10 hit.

Previte wrote the lyrics, and the music was written by John DeNicola and Don Markowitz. After getting further approval, Previte created a demo of the song, performing on it himself, along with singer Rachele Cappelli. The demo showcased how the harmonies were to be used, employing a "cold open", or a slow build-up of the song to its finale. This demo wasn't used in the final cut of the film − the more polished version with Warnes and Medley was. However, because the Warnes/Medley track was not ready by the time the finale was filmed (it was shot first, due to the tight budget), Previte and Capelli's much lighter and more youthful version was used as a backing track, so that the actors, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and the dancers, could have something to dance to (Swayze had later remarked it was his favorite version, even including all the subsequent remakes). The demo version finally appeared on the 1998 CD reissue of Previte's 1981 album Franke and the Knockouts, but is only listed as "Bonus Track".

The song was initially intended for Donna Summer and Joe Esposito, but they turned it down. Bill Medley was approached by Jimmy Ienner repeatedly over two months to do the recording, but he also turned it down because his daughter McKenna was due to be born, and he had promised his wife he would be there. After the birth of his daughter, Medley was approached again, because Jennifer Warnes had indicated she would record the song if she could do the duet with Medley. Medley then agreed to record the track. With the release of the film it became a worldwide hit, and is one of the most frequently played songs on radio.

A song by Lionel Richie was initially planned to be used as the finale of Dirty Dancing, but choreographer Kenny Ortega and his assistant Miranda Garrison (who also played Vivian in the film) selected "The Time of My Life" instead.

Music video

A music video was produced for this song in October 1987. The video features several couples dancing like in the movie, and it also featured clips from it.

Chart performance

In the United States, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1987 for one week and also reached number one on the Adult Contemporary for four weeks. In the United Kingdom the song had two chart outings: in November 1987, after the film's initial release, the song peaked at No. 6; in January 1991, after the film was shown on mainstream television, the song reached No. 8.


  • Academy Award for Best Original Song, 1987
  • Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, 1988
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, 1988
  • ASCAP "Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures" and "ASCAP Songwriter Of The Year" for its writer.
  • In 2004 AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey placed it #86 among the top tunes in American cinema.

    Cover versions and samples

  • In 2003, the top 11 contestants of the first season of Canadian Idol performed it as a group number during the season finale.
  • The song was covered in 2004 by Carmen & Piero and their version features on Best of Mundart and Duets.
  • Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee performed a version as their final duet during the fifth-season finale of American Idol in 2006.
  • The song was covered in 2006 by British glamour model Katie Price and her then-husband, pop singer Peter Andre. The track is included on their 2006 album of duets A Whole New World.
  • In 2007, the song was performed by British girl group Girls Aloud on their concert The Greatest Hits Tour (Girls Aloud)
  • The 2007 compilation Over The Rainbow featured a cover of the song by Jermaine Jackson and R&B/dance music singer Jocelyn Brown.
  • Barry Manilow covered the song on his 2008 album of cover songs, The Greatest Songs of the Eighties.
  • The song appeared on the Fox series Glee in the second-season episode "Special Education". It was sung by Quinn (Dianna Agron) & Sam (Chord Overstreet) as the opening ballad at Sectionals. It is also featured on the soundtrack Glee: The Music, Volume 4.
  • Sam Milby and Toni Gonzaga covered this song on their 2009 album Love Duets.
  • In 2009, Namibian singer Nianell and South African singer Dozi included a version on their duet covers album It Takes Two.
  • In 2010, The Black Eyed Peas sampled the chorus in their song, "The Time (Dirty Bit)" (from the album The Beginning), with the line "Yes, I swear it's the truth" changed to "And I swear this is true".
  • The song's original recording is a regular staple at live shows of the Norwegian electro rock band, Datarock, and is frequently performed as a sing-along by band and audience.
  • In 2011, Kris Lawrence and Kyla record their version for the show Time of My Life as the show's theme song.
  • The song has also been used as a commercial jingle for Sandals Resorts.
  • German jazz-metal band Panzerballett covered this song in their 2012 album Tank Goodness.
  • This song was covered by the Strictly Come Dancing band and singers, led by David Arch, in 2012, as the backing for gymnast Louis Smith and professional dancer Flavia Cacace's salsa in week 3 and the first part of the final.
  • In the Major Crimes episode "There's No Place Like Home", a suspect's alibi was that he was doing the song karaoke. The Major Crimes squad watched his performance for a minute but quickly shut it off when the suspect started dancing. At the end of the episode, the credits were played over a scene of the man singing and dancing to the song with a partner rather than the regular black screen.
  • In 2014, the song was recorded by Kerry Ellis and Joe McElderry for Ellis' self-titled album.
  • In 2015, on the 21th season of U.S reality/competition show Dancing with the Stars wildlife expert Bindi Irwin and her dance partner Derek Hough danced the rumba to it on week 6 and got the highest score of the night.
  • In 2016, Jodie Sweetin and Macy Gray covered the song in the third episode of Fuller House "Funner House" while Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber danced to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" in the same episode.
  • In 2016, The Netherlands LuckyTV released a video that lip-synched the second Clinton-Trump presidential debate to the song so that it looked like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were singing a duet. The video later went viral on YouTube, with approximately 777,000 views in the first day.
  • British rock band The Darkness play the song after their gigs are finished.
  • Track listings

    7" single
    1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
    2. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:52)
    12" maxi and CD single
    1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
    2. "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins (2:59)
    3. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:53)
    4. "Overload" by Zappacosta (3:39)
    1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
    2. "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins (2:59)
    3. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:53)
    4. "Overload" by Zappacosta (3:39)


    (I've Had) The Time of My Life Wikipedia