Vanessa Williams Loved ‘Save the Best For Last’ Because She Enjoys Singing Ballads

Vanessa Williams is a consummate performer. The singer, actor, TV personality, and former Miss America winner has done just about everything in show business over the past four decades, and she has no intention of stopping soon. In the early 1990s, she took her career to new heights with her soaring ballad, “Save the Best For Last.”

Vanessa Williams wearing a fur jacket
Vanessa Williams | Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Vanessa Williams’ ‘Save the Best For Last’ is an iconic song

After Vanessa Williams surrendered her Miss America crown in 1984, she sought to keep her name out there in the public eye in various different ways. In 1988, she released her debut album The Right Stuff, fronted by the hit single of the same name.

In 1991, Williams began preparing a follow-up album, titled The Comfort Zone. It became the most successful album of her career: it topped the Billboard Hot Hip-Hop/R&B Albums chart and produced the smash single “Save the Best For Last.” The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained there for five weeks.

The album earned five Grammy Award nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Save the Best for Last.”

Vanessa Williams loves singing ballads

“Save the Best For Last” was released as the third single from The Comfort Zone on January 14, 1992. To commemmorate the 30th anniversary of its release, Williams shared a throwback clip on her Instagram of her talking about the song years ago.

Williams loved “Save the Best For Last” in particular because of its nature as an emotional ballad.

“A ballad, for me, is pretty effortless. I love to paint pictures with phrasing and with tone. And I think having theater background helps when you sing a ballad because when you’re singing on stage in a theater, you have to articulate, you have to be able to sustain your notes, and you have to be able to project whatever the character is feeling through your eyes and through your person as an actress,” she said. “So ballads, for me, are really a joy, because I can sit back and interpret my own feel or my own style.”

“When I heard [‘Save the Best For Last’], I immediately said, ‘Does anyone have a hold on this?'” she continued. “I was stunned that none of the majors — Streisand, Bette Midler — none of the majors had heard this song or wanted to do it, so I said, ‘Absolutely,’ and we took it and ran with it.

“When we recorded it that day, when we heard it back in the studio, we knew it was special. It kinda gives you goosebumps.”

‘Save the Best For Last’ turned 30

As “Save the Best For Last” turned 30 years old, Williams took a moment to honor Jon Lind, the prolific songwriter who helped bring the song to life. Lind died on January 15, 2022. Throughout his life, he worked with hit musicians including Earth, Wind & Fire, Madonna, and Cher.

“As I reflect on the 30th anniversary of my biggest hit ‘Save the Best for Last’ this week , I am saddened to learn the news of the passing Jon Lind,” she said. “Jon was one of the tremendous trio of writers along with Phil Galdston and Wendy Waldman who created the hauntingly beautiful tune that has helped me bring audiences to tears for 30 years.”

“Jon was a wonderful human and talent that will be truly missed.”

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