|"Heart of the Night"|
|Single by Poco|
|from the album Legend|
|"The Last Goodbye"|
|Richard Sanford Orshoff|
|Poco singles chronology|
"Heart of the Night" is a song introduced on the 1978 album release by the country-rock group Poco entitled Legend: a 1979 hit single, "Heart of the Night" is also featured on the group retrospective 20th Century Masters album as well as The Essential Poco album.
Featuring a lead vocal by its composer Paul Cotton, "Heart of the Night" is an evocation of the night life of the city of New Orleans. Cotton, who was born in Alabama but raised in Chicago, would state: "I'm just drawn to the South. Hey, I spent 25 winters in Chicago." Cotton had previously focused on New Orleans in his song "Down in the Quarter" introduced on the 1975 Poco album Head Over Heels, and has stated that he wrote "Break of Hearts", a track from the 1982 Poco album Ghost Town, as a followup to "Heart of the Night" (although "Break of Hearts" contains no regional references).
|from Our Favorite Country Songs About Every Southern State in Southern Living 21 July 2017|
|This song is such a heartfelt tribute to the city of New Orleans, the eros of the great state of Louisiana. Its reference to the Dixie moon over the Pontchartrain, the Southern rain and the ebb and flow of the river rising shines a light on the natural beauty that exists alongside the many cultural and celebratory things the city is known for. - Anna Wilson of Troubadour 77|
"Heart of the Night" is highlighted by an alto sax solo by Phil Kenzie who had similarly and memorably contributed to the Al Stewart 1976-77 hit "Year of the Cat": Kenzie had become acquainted with Cotton and Young as a result of Kenzie playing behind Al Stewart during the latter's 1977 Year of the Cat tour which featured Poco as opening act. Two other members of Al Stewart's tour band: drummer Steve Chapman and bassist Charlie Harrison, also played on the sessions for the Legend album: (Paul Cotton:)"Steve Chapman, right after we rehearsed ['Heart of the Night'] in the studio, said 'Man, that's going to be a big hit.'"
In 1978, with Poco seemingly disbanded, Cotton and Rusty Young (Young quote:) "got a little rehearsal hall, put together a band, and played [several songs including] 'Crazy Love' and 'Heart of the Night'" for ABC Records executives who okayed Cotton and Young recording an album as the Cotton-Young Band; however by the time the album - recorded at Crystal City Studios (Los Angeles) between April and August 1978 - had been completed ABC had decided to issue it as a new Poco album, a decision which effectively promoted Steve Chapman and Charlie Harrison from being one-off session players to tenured members of Poco.
The album Legend was released in November 1978 with the lead single "Crazy Love" released in January 1979 to become Poco's first Top 40 hit. "Heart of the Night" was issued as the second single from Legend in May 1979, reaching a Hot 100 peak of #20. Billboard ranked "Heart of the Night" as a #5 Easy Listening hit, with the track appearing on the C&W chart at #96. In Canada "Heart of the Night" peaked at #18.
A live performance by Poco of "Heart of the Night" appears on the November 1979 multi-artist album No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future which contains selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective. A live rendition of "Heart of the Night" is also featured on the 2004 Poco concert album Keeping the Legend Alive recorded 20 May 2004 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville