“Wildflower” is a song written by Doug Edwards and Dave Richardson in 1972. First performed by the Canadian band Skylark, it has been covered by many artists and more recently has been sampled in a number of hip hop songs.
The title, “Wildflower”, is not mentioned in the song. The closest line to the title occurs as the final line of the repeated chorus: “She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild”.
Doug Edwards was a member of Skylark, and Dave Richardson was a friend of band member and organizer David Foster. Edwards composed “Wildflower” after reading a poem by Richardson; the song was included on the band’s demo tape. Barry De Vorzon, by 1972 an established music business name, heard the demo tape and was convinced that the song would be a big hit. After the demo was rejected by several studios, an executive at Capitol Records signed the band and the song—with Donny Gerrard doing the vocal—was included on their eponymous first album. The initial single released from the album was not successful. Rosalie Trombley, a music director at CKLW, a Canadian radio station in Windsor, Ontario, played “Wildflower”, at that time an album cut, repeatedly for three months in an effort to satisfy the Canadian government’s requirements for Canadian content. During that period, it was the only radio station in North America to have the song on its playlist. Capitol decided to release it in neighboring Detroit as a regional release, where it became a huge soul hit before breaking out nationally and crossing over to the pop charts. Eventually “Wildflower” spent 21 weeks on the Billboard pop chart. The song proved to be extremely popular in Canada as well; it ultimately peaked at #10 on the RPM Top Singles chart, and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Total sales of the single exceeded one million copies, and it was included on their second album as well, at the request of Capitol Records executives who sought to capitalize on the song’s success. Ultimately, it was their only single to chart in the United States.
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