This beautiful song started life as a folk song written in 1957 by British singer songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger who would later become his wife. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was then recorded by Roberta Flack in 1972 and this much slower version (almost twice the length of the original) became a hit after its inclusion in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me. MacColl is said to “hate every cover version of the song” and he apparently had a special section for the cover versions in his record collection which he called ‘The Chamber of Horrors’.
Today’s song was originally recorded by The Platters in 1957. Desperate to come up with a follow-up to the very successful Only You, Buck Ram, the band’s producer, says he wrote The Great Pretender in 20 minutes in the toilet of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The reason I chose this song today is that it was later recorded famously by Freddie Mercury in 1987. Freddie Mercury would be celebrating his 69th birthday today.
Today I’m playing the instrumental tune Petite Fleur, written by Sidney Bechet in 1952. I was reminded of this piece when I heard it performed in an episode of Mad Men recently. I hope you enjoy my version.
To hear all of my August songs, click here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about why I’m trying to record a piano tune every day here.
Today marks 7 years since I left my post in the education department of East Ayrshire Council to run Radio Lingua full time. I had been working evenings and weekends and then gradually went down to working 2.5 days at East Ayrshire and 2.5 days (or 4.5 days!!!) for Radio Lingua, but on 18th July 2008 I handed in my resignation and I haven’t looked back since! Don’t get me wrong: I loved working with colleagues from East Ayrshire and the other authorities involved in the Partners in Excellence project, but being my own boss and gradually building the business and the team has been a wonderful experience and here’s hoping for many more years!
The song I’ve chosen for today is Edith Piaf’s classic Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (literally, “no, I don’t regret anything” or “I have no regrets”). In addition to being one of the most famous French songs ever recorded, this song was also used extensively in the brilliant 2010 film Inception. The theme is based on a slowed-down version of the song, and the running time of the film, 2 hours 28 minutes (of mind-bending confusion!) makes reference to the length of the song when it was originally recorded at 2 minutes 28 seconds!
There are more French songs here, and to hear more July songs, click here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about why I’m trying to record a piano tune every day here.
Today I’m in Belgium at the European Parliament offices with a group of Scottish students who are taking part in the final of the OurEurope competition, organised by SEET. I’ve prerecorded possibly the most famous Belgian song ever written: Jacques Brel’s 1959 classic Ne Me Quitte Pas (“don’t leave me”). It’s a beautiful, haunting melody, and the middle section borrows a theme from Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 where Brel sings:
Moi, je t’offrirai des perles de pluie venues de pays où il ne pleut pas.
I’ll give you pearls of rain from lands where it doesn’t rain.
The song has been translated into many languages and has been recorded by hundreds of artists. I hope you enjoy my version today.
To hear all of my June songs, click here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about why I’m trying to record a piano tune every day here.
Today I’m playing the Frank Sinatra classic Love And Marriage. It dates from 1955 and was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. For a generation of TV viewers it is also known as the theme song from the 1980s-1990s sitcom Married With Children. I hope you enjoy today’s tune!
If you’re looking for more Sinatra tunes, click here. To hear all of my June songs, click here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about why I’m trying to record a piano tune every day here.
I’m in Strasbourg at the moment and in every gift shop there are hundreds of witches in various poses and various guises. Today’s song is therefore Frank Sinatra’s Witchcraft! Dating from 1957, Witchcraft spent 16 weeks in the US charts, peaking at number 20. It is, however, a staple Sinatra number and has recently made it into the soundtrack of a certain film (which I’ve not seen…)