“There’s got to be a morning after.”
It was a lyric heard on AM radios all through the nation during the summer of 1973, catapulting a then-unknown 24-year-old singer from Youngstown, Ohio named Maureen McGovern into stardom.
Older and a little bit wiser from a long career full of ups and downs, McGovern will perform at Queens Theater in the Park in Flushing Meadow on Saturday at 8 p.m.
In an interview earlier this month with the Queens Chronicle, McGovern looked back at a life both in and out of the spotlight.
“‘The Morning After’ opened a lot of doors for me,” McGovern said. “It’s funny. It seems as if the lyrics are more meaningful now than when I recorded it 35 years ago.”
The success of “The Morning After,” the theme to the disaster flick “The Poseidon Adventure,” led McGovern to another opportunity — this time singing a tune for another big film, director Irwin Allen’s “Towering Inferno.”
“I was dubbed the ‘disaster film queen’ after that,” McGovern said.
When “We May Never Love Like This Again” failed to enter the Top 40 despite the box office success of “Inferno,” McGovern’s career temporarily stalled. Dropped by her record label, McGovern made ends meet by becoming a secretary in Los Angeles under an assumed name.
After nearly five years away from the public eye, McGovern found magic yet again with the movies, this time with the love theme from “Superman,” the top-grossing film of 1979. While “Can You Read My Mind,” written by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse, failed to crack the Top 40, it scored well on the adult charts.
Curb Records executives then signed McGovern to sing “Different Worlds,” a disco tune written by TV theme jingle king Charles Fox (“Happy Days,” “Love, American Style”) that would be used for “Angie,” an ABC television series that enjoyed a two-year run.
In 1981 McGovern switched gears, moving to New York, where she still lives part of the year. She landed a role on Broadway as Mabel in “The Pirates of Penzance,” starring Linda Ronstadt. She has performed in countless productions since then and has developed another career as a cabaret singer.
While others — Rod Stewart comes quickly to mind — have embraced the fad of covering the great American songbook at the behest of a record executive, McGovern has been perfecting it for over a quarter of a century., including on her lastest CD, “A Long And Winding Road.”
On the disc, McGovern nicely mixes the well-known with the esoteric. While there is plenty of familiar fare such as Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Jimmy Webb’s often-covered “MacArthur Park,” and the title track, the Beatles’ “The Long And Winding Road,” there are also obscure tunes worthy of attention such as Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” James Taylor’s “Shed A Little Light” and Randy Newman’s “Cowboy.”
“Since I will be performing over Thanksgiving weekend, I will probably sing a few holiday songs as well,” McGovern said.
When not she is not touring, McGovern still spends much of her time in rural southeastern Ohio.“I flew home so I could vote for Barack Obama,” she said.
Speaking of politics, back in 1985 the singer had a run-in with another McGovern. “George McGovern came backstage when I was performing in ‘The Pirates Of Penzance,’” she said. “He jokingly called me his long lost daughter.”