"Broken Wings" Helped Mr. Mister Take Flight

Richard Page of Mr. Mister
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Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Most didn't know it at the time, but before Mr. Mister sailed to the top of the U.S. charts with "Broken Wings," listeners had heard the band's lead singer all over the place.

Richard Page, a Phoenix-born singer who founded Mr. Mister in 1982, had spent years as a session singer in Los Angeles in the late '70s and early '80s, singing on hits by REO Speedwagon, Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau and many others. (He later formed a first band called Pages with future Mr. Mister band member Steve George, which meant he had to turn down lead singer opportunities in both Chicago and Toto.)

Page and his cousin, John Lange, had co-written many of the songs on Mr. Mister's 1984 debut I Wear the Face, which went nowhere. Undeterred, the duo began work on a follow-up - and everything changed after Lang read a novel by Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran about a couple whose secret love is thwarted by cultural expectations. Its title: Broken Wings.

The moving song of love and devotion featured some killer instrumental tricks (an iconic synth line, a cymbal hit recorded and played backwards for the song's "sizzling" intro), and Page's impassioned delivery ("Take! These broken wings!") made it all the more classic. When it was released in 1985, audiences agreed: on Dec. 7, 1985, "Broken Wings" began a two-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Follow-up "Kyrie," from the same album, Welcome to the Real World, also stayed at No. 1 for two weeks in the spring of 1986.)

Though Mr. Mister would never score chart hits as high for the rest of the decade, Page remains active in music: in 2010, he resurrected a fourth, unreleased Mr. Mister album for release, and has since joined Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band as a vocalist.

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