Jennifer Warnes

Shot Through the Heart

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Having compromised on her Arista debut and gotten a hit single for her trouble, Jennifer Warnes took charge of the recording of her second Arista album, co-producing it and writing three songs, including the title track. It was hard to miss the point when Warnes covered Dionne Warwick's 1963 hit "Don't Make Me Over" (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) that she was finished with having people tell her what to do. On her own, her taste was impeccable, her song choices including the work of Jesse Winchester, Bob Dylan, and Stephen Foster, and her own songwriting was good, too. She also managed to satisfy the commercial expectations aroused by her previous album, with "I Know a Heartache When I See One" rising into the country Top Ten and the pop and adult contemporary Top 40. (She also made it into all three charts with "Don't Make Me Over" and into the pop and AC charts with "When the Feeling Comes Around.") She proved an adept producer, achieving a smooth pop/rock sound. With session stars like Andrew Gold aboard, Warnes succeeded in making what sounded like the great lost Linda Ronstadt album. Granted, she handled strong material like Dylan's "Sign on the Window" better than Ronstadt could, but Ronstadt had originated this kind of '70s L.A. country/pop/rock style, and it was impossible to do it without sounding like you were copying her. Maybe that was why, despite three chart singles, the album wasn't a big commercial success. In turn, the disappointing sales may have injured Warnes' relationship with Arista. Instead of releasing another new album, Arista followed with a best-of, and Warnes didn't release another new album until 1987.

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