Our Top 10 Sophie B. Hawkins Songs list presents the best Sophie B. Hawkins Songs like “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and many more. Born in New York City on November 1, 1964, Sophie Ballantine Hawkins was an attendee of the Manhattan School of Music before choosing to pursue a music career. This decision proved to be a fruitful one as the woman has so far celebrated three decades’ worth of musical genius that has won her several awards, sold-out concerts, and a huge international fan base.
Her interest in music began when she was just four years old. In addition to her love for drums, she was also in awe of Bob Dylan. Whenever listening to his music, she borrowed her father’s sunglasses and wore them as she cried underneath them. She already knew at that time she wanted to follow in the man’s footsteps as an iconic performer. However, she wanted to do this her own way and not come across as a Dylan copycat. For her, she wanted to be a song and not just a singer-songwriter.
As soon as Sophie turned fourteen years old, the desire to learn how to play the drums triggered her to take this interest even further. She already knew how to play African drums at the time but sought to bring this skill and talent to the next level. At the time, there was no interest to become a songwriter. That came about while she was in the Manhattan School of Music. While there, as a percussionist, she realized she wanted to sing her own songs from her own drum set in various bands. The first professional gig she performed was for Bryan Ferry. When that was over she worked as a coat checker for a popular restaurant in Manhattan. While there, she handed demos to a patron who later handed them to a producer at JSM Music. This was the same demo that featured “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.”
In 1992, Sophie B. Hawkins made her debut as a recording artist with the album, Tongues and Tails. This launched the woman into national and international stardom with “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” as a global hit. It was enough to earn her first Grammy Award nomination, specifically for Best New Artist in 1993. However, that win went to Arrested Development instead.
In 1994, Whaler became the second studio album recorded and released by Hawkins. Just like her debut, it was through Columbia Records and it also became a commercial success. This was the album that produced four hit singles. “Right Beside You,” and “As I Lay Me Down” were the two that stood out as top ten hits. Four years later, The Cream Will Rise was a documentary presented by Gigi Gaston as it followed Hawkins during one of her tours. It would be through this her fans learned Hawkins came from a family that had relationship issues, all of which inspired her to write the brand of music she used as a singer-songwriter.
1998 also marked the year Hawkins experienced issues with Columbia, the label responsible for releasing her first two albums. This caused a delay in the release of Timbre as the creative differences between the executives clashed with Hawkins. Instead of bowing down to accommodate the label, Hawkins’ third album was finally released in 1999. However, the label refused to promote it. This resulted in Hawkins leaving the label to form her own. In 2001, Trumpet Swan Productions released Timbre which became a two-disc set that featured additional recordings and videos.
In 2004, Hawkins released her first independently recorded album, Wilderness. This would be her final studio recording for eight years. In 2012, she released The Crossing through the label, Rocket Science. This was also the same year she starred as Janis Joplin in a play written by Gaston, Room 105. At this time, Gaston had become the girlfriend and manager of Hawkins.
Going into 2013, Sophie B. Hawkins appeared on an episode of Community, a television series that aired the singer as herself while she performed “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down.”
Sophie B. Hawkins Legacy
In addition to enjoying a successful career as a musical artist, Sophie B. Hawkins has also been a painter. She’s also an active supporter of animal rights, environmental issues, as well as political and social activism. During the summer of 2007, she headlined the Los Angeles Women’s Music Festival to lend her support to animal rescue groups and supporting female musicians. In 2008, she supported presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with “Damn, We Wish You Were President,” which was a twist from “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.”
Hawkins made it no secret she was a fan of Hillary Clinton, as well as the Waterkeeper Alliance. Waterkeeper is an organization dedicated to patrolling and protecting thousands of miles worth of coastlines, rivers, and streams on a global scale. Her single, “The Land, the Sea, and the Sky” was recorded and released with all of its proceeds donated to the group.
Top 10 Sophie B. Hawkins Songs
#10 – Walking in My Blue Jeans
In 2000, then again in 2001, Sophie B. Hawkinsreleased “Walking in My Blue Jeans” as a track from her album Timbre. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart, it became a number twenty-three hit. The album was released in 1999 but the single was held back until it was released the first time in 2000 after Hawkins bought the rights of Timbre to do with it as she wished. It was released through her own label, Trumpet Swan Records, in 2001. At that time, “Walking in My Blue Jeans” was released as its promotional single. This became a popular song that would be used that same year for a Calvin Klein women’s jeans commercial.
For Hawkins, the song was a reminder of waking up as a kid in New York on a Saturday morning. It was about the realization of personal identity and how a set of blue jeans is more than just a garment. It’s a reflection of who we are as human beings true to ourselves.
#9 – Lose Your Way
As a singer, as well as a songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins was at her best when she was part of the song as more than a simple narrator. This form of artistic expression collided with what Columbia felt was considered suitable material to release as a single. Hawkins had the banjo played in “Lose Your Way” but Columbia wanted it removed. Instead of complying, Hawkins dug in her heels and pointed out she’s the songwriter here, not them. This was intended to be a folksy number as the lyrics vowed a lifetime of love.
The song was finally released in 1999 and became a number twenty-six hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart. Just before its release, it was already featured in an episode that same year on Dawson’s Creek, as well as the show’s first soundtrack album. In 2000, it was used in Bounce, as well as its soundtrack.
Unfortunately, “Lose Your Way” did not become a commercial success at first, despite making a US Billboard chart appearance. It didn’t help that Columbia refused to offer any support in the recording, as well as Timbre, until it was pressured by the fans who sided with Hawkins. This prompted Hawkins to move on and create her own label so that the song, plus its album, could be reissued. This was accomplished in 2001. Originally, this was supposed to be a 1996 release, but the clash between Columbia and Hawkins slowed things down until 1999.
#8 – The Land, the Sea, and the Sky
“The Land, the Sea, and the Sky” was a song written and performed by Sophie B. Hawkins as a promotional single to support Waterkeeper Alliance. This is the same organization responsible for the patrolling and protection of natural waterways as part of the fight to counteract the impact of climate change.
#7 – I Want You
“I Want You” was a Bob Dylan song that was covered by Sophie B. Hawkins for her debut album, Tongues and Tails, which was released in 1992. That same year she perform in Madison Square Garden as part of a concert that honored Bob Dylan. This was a slowed-down version of Dylan’s 1966 original that even won over the legendary songwriter’s approval. It was Dylan’s manager that invited Hawkins to perform at the thirtieth-anniversary celebration. However, it was one of several songs that were kept out of the 1993 double album, as well as the video release of the concert.
#6 – California Here I Come
In 1992, “California Here I Come” was the second single released from Sophie B. Hawkins’ album, Tongues and Tails. In Canada, it peaked as high as number thirty-nine while on the UK Singles Chart it became a number fifty-three hit. While it didn’t share the same amount of global recognition as “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” it still became a fan favorite among an audience that saw more to this musical artist as a one-hit-wonder.
John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, inspired Sophie B. Hawkins to recite the Lord’s Prayer as part of “California Here I Come.” Oddly enough, the chorus featured the influence of Bugs Bunny finding a field of carrots laid out before him as soon as he passed through its golden gates. For Hawkins, she hadn’t been to California yet when she first recorded this song as she was a simple girl from New York at the time.
#5 – Don’t Don’t Tell Me No
“Don’t Don’t Tell Me No” became a number thirty-six hit for Sophie B. Hawkins after it was released as a single in 1994. In Germany, it became a number sixty-nine hit. From the album, Whaler, the cappella ending finished off what came across as a chirpy ending.
There’s some common ground between Hawkins’ “Don’t Don’t Tell Me No” with Madonna’s 2000 single “Don’t Tell Me” as a number that focused on the preference to keep a romantic relationship going despite whatever troubles it was going through. The plea for the love interest to stay featured Hawkins in a state of lyrical vulnerability that demonstrated why she became an international star as a singer-songwriter.
#4 – Only Love (The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty)
Released in 1996, “Only Love (The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty)” was a single from Sophie B. Hawkins’ second studio album, Whaler. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at number forty-nine. It faired better in Canada as it became a number seven hit on its RMP Top Singles chart. This was the final hit from Hawkins to earn a spot on the official music charts.
“Only Love” was met with creative differences between Hawkins and Sony Music. When it was released as a single it was remixed that was met with disapproval by Hawkins. As far as she was concerned, the label ripped out what she felt was the soul of the song. However, this version was popular enough to win over the fans to make it a charted hit. Would it have performed better if it was released exactly as Hawkins wished? As far as the music critics were concerned, it was a charming sing-along love song that understood the only way through its troubles was to let go and move on.
#3 – Right Beside You
On the UK Singles Chart, “Right Beside You” became a number thirteen hit in 1994 while on the US Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at number fifty-six hit. In Canada, it was a number seven hit on its RPM Top Singles Chart. On an international level, “Right Beside You” was a top forty hit among the nations of Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
As a song, “Right Beside You” danced its way into the nightclubs that also featured a couple of remixes that became fan favorites on an international level. Hawkins’ vocal delivery in this tune was warm enough to seduce the listener to enjoy every second of it. According to some music critics, this was Sophie B. Hawkins at her best.
#2 – As I Lay Me Down
Released from the album, Whaler, “As I Lay Me Down” became a certified gold hit by the Recording Industry Association of America not long after it was released as a single in 1994. In 1996, it earned an ASCAP Pop Music Award for Most Performed Song. ASCAP is an acronym for American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
Much like “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” “As I Lay Me Down” was a ballad that focused on a loved one. This time, instead of a love interest it’s her father as this was a song that was written by Sophie B. Hawkins in memory of her father.
At first, “As I Lay Me Down” received little attention. This changed after Hawkins went on tour and performed it as an acoustic piano number. By the time 1995’s summer hit, the single became a major adult contemporary hit. There was also a remix that began to air on various radio stations, spiking the song’s popularity even further. In Australia, it became certified gold not long after it peaked at number seven on its official music chart. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart, it became a number one hit. This was also the case on the US Billboard Adult Top 40. On the US Billboard Hot 100, “As I Lay Me Down” peaked at number six and it was a number twenty-four hit on the UK Singles Chart.
#1 – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” was the explosive hit single that peaked as high as number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number fourteen on the UK Singles Chart. This debut came from the album, Tongues and Tails, which was released in 1992. Internationally, it was at least a top forty hit among the nations of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In the song, Hawkins addressed another woman who was stuck in an abusive relationship. It was her desire to rescue the woman so the two could become lovers. For Hawkins, this song was designed to encourage listeners to become more open-minded when it came to sexuality. Among the LGBTQ community and its supporters, this song is considered anthemic. Among the international fan base, it became a cult favorite, and for good reason.
At the time, the rarity of songs that were homoerotic by nature was rare. It met with just as much harsh criticism as it did praise by communities that felt the song was inappropriate to play on the radio. However, all this did was spike the song’s popularity, as well as Sophie B. Hawkins as a singer-songwriter.
Regardless of the opposing opinions about the song, there’s no denying it was loaded with all the right stuff to make it a mainstream pop favorite. This was a love song that delivered a charming and hypnotic hook that easily won over fans who prefer listening to a good song instead of breaking it apart based on its lyrical content. The song was sexy and vulnerable, which is exactly what makes a love song go from just another ordinary ballad to something extraordinary.
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