Richard Page of Mr. Mister didn’t think Broken Wings would ever be a hit. They thought the song was too long. And it was too personal. You see, Broken Wings is about the band’s recovery from cocaine addiction as they learned to “fly again.”
Many musicians at the time considered cocaine to be a harmless creative muse. Even Sigmund Freud used it. But cocaine derailed Richard Page and the rest of the band for several years. During their time of recovery, Page had a bass line he was working on. Page’s cousin and collaborator, John Lang, was reading the book Broken Wings by Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet. John was fused was inspired by the tune and brought in ideas from the book. And the song took flight.
Programmers in the 1980s pushed producer to keep songs under four minutes. And when Richard recorded the vocals in the studio, it was magical. But the song was long. Over 5 minutes. And the producers were concerned with the length of the Broken Wings.
So, Mr. Mister tried to edit it down. But they just couldn’t do it. They wrote 4 minutes down on the box sent it off. No one checked!
Broken Wings Takes Flight
Broken Wings was a hit. It spent 22 weeks on the Hot 100, and peaked at number one in 1985. The song has been covered by a diverse group of musicians over the years. But when Tupac sampled the song, Richard built some real street cred with his kids.