I have strong memories of this song. In 1994, I was in Sydney on rest with friends at the Coogee Bay Hotel. At the time, fires were burning along the coastal areas of New South Wales and I remember being in contact with my family about their plight in Western Sydney.
The same day I recall hearing this song, I met by chance a fellow Navy employee Tania while playing pool. After us having a few under the belt I saw ten’s of local firefighters entering the Hotel with this song playing on the loud speakers. It was a sight to behold although perhaps a little blurry. After the event Tania and I roamed Coogee Beach.
Whenever I hear this song it propels me to this event cheering on the firefighters; their faces smudged with charcoal entering the Hotel. The scene couldn’t have been written better or to more rapturous fan-fare. At the time I had a celebrity crush on Maria until I saw her in a documentary; and if memory serves me correct; throwing food in her house and laughing like a hyena. Despite that I can’t help but adore this song.
There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
This song has an interesting backstory. Carey wrote the song, but gave it to Gloria Estefan who sang it for a film of the same name. Carey was encouraged to keep the song and she wrote more personal lyrics thereafter. It is regarded as one of her more personal and inspirational ballads.
Carey’s vocal performance on this always blew me away and it was around the same time I heard that both Maria and Roy Orbison had the biggest vocal ranges of all contemporary singers; although this story could be apocryphal.
In an interview with Fred Bronson he discussed the process in which they had completed the rough version of the song:
I went to New York and we were in the studio and came to a break. I was sitting at the piano and told Mariah about this movie. Within two hours, we had this incredible seed for this song, ‘Hero’. It was never meant for Mariah to sing. In her mind, we were writing a song for Gloria Estefan for this movie. And we went into an area that Mariah didn’t really go into-in her words, it was a little bit too schmaltzy or too ballady or too old-fashioned as far as melody and lyrics.
If you are interested for more information about the song I point you to the reference below because I have read few which have more content about them including lawsuits and what-have-you.
1. Hero (Mariah Carey Song) – wikipedia