This week Take That are playing all week in the SSE Hydro and it seems that almost everyone I know is going to see them at some point. Today’s song is Rule the World from 2007. It was used at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics as the flame was extinguished.
This song must rank among the cheesiest songs I’ve played so far, and the reason I’m playing isn’t much better! I was staying at a Premier Inn on Sunday night before a meeting in East Lothian early on Monday morning, and as I sat eating my breakfast, this song came on, sung by Whitney Houston and Teddy Pendergrass. I’m sure you needed to know those details… Their recording was from 1984, but it actually featured on Silk Electric, the 1982 Diana Ross album, under the title In Your Arms.
Today’s song is the theme from the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall. Written and recorded by Adele, it was released at 0:07am on the 5th October 2012 as part of Global James Bond Day, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the first Bond film. A bit of controversy surrounds the lyrics of the song, which are apparently very close to the words of a poem in Tamil by the poet Subramania Bharati. A line in the poem is as follows:
Uchchi Meedhu Vaan Idindhu Veezhugindra Podhinum, Achcham Illai Achcham Illai Achcham Enbadhillaiyae
This translates roughly to: “let the sky fall, when it crumbles, we will stand tall and face it all together.” Sounds familiar…
Today’s song, My Kind of Town, was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen in 1964, originally as part of the Rat Pack musical Robin and 7 Hoods, but it became one of the most popular solo songs of the great Frank Sinatra. The song has come to my attention more recently when I was watching the brilliant Norwegian comedy series Lilyhammer, where the fictional New York gangster Frank (The Fixer) Tagliano, played by Steven Van Zandt of Sopranos fame is starting a new life in Lillehammer, Norway. There’s an episode called My Kind of Town which ends with Frank singing this song with his new friends, work colleagues, and a few enemies, replacing Chicago with Lillehammer.
I’m returning to the classics, and more specifically to opera today with Musetta’s Waltz from Puccini’s opera La Bohème. It’s sung by Musetta in the company of her bohemian friends, in an attempt to make Marcello jealous. I hope you enjoy this lovely piece of music today.
Today’s song is one of my favourite Billy Joel songs: Summer, Highland Falls. Written in 1977, according to Billy himself this song is about a certain stage reached in a relationship:
I lived, actually, in a town–upstate New York, right on the Hudson, just below West Point–and it’s called Highland Falls. And I lived there, and it was at a time when I was in a relationship where the bloom was off the rose, the honeymoon was over. And, you realize how disappointing it can be when you love somebody so much and then you’re mean to each other and you do hurtful things to each other. It’s all out of love, but it’s that first understanding that all is not right. You either accept it and say, ‘maybe we’re not as perfect as we thought we were’ – there’s a certain disappointment, but there’s also an acceptance. I was looking for one of those yin-yang kind of things.”
I think that it’s a beautiful song from a musical point of view: it’s a ballad, but the melody is underpinned by the fast semiquavers of the accompaniment, and the rise and fall of the melody line seems to mirror the rise and fall of the relationship. I hope you enjoy this one.
There are more Billy Joel songs in my Piano Man album and this year’s Billy Joel songs are here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or see all of my April songs here.
Today is St George’s day and while there are no doubt many English songs I could play, my news feed this morning is full of all things Catalan, as St George is also the patron saint of Catalonia where he’s known as Sant Jordi. So today’s song is Barcelona, the wonderful collaboration between Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé from 1987. Freddie Mercury had been a fan of opera for many years and was very keen to collaborate with Caballé. He wrote Barcelona with Mike Moran for it to be performed at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Since Caballé’s schedule made it difficult for her to be involved in the initial recordings, Mercury sang his own part and then overdubbed the soprano parts in falsetto in the original demo recordings. I hope you enjoy my performance of this classic song.
Today I’m playing Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll Fly Away from 1980. This song was also performed by Nicole Kidman in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge, and my performance is a bit more in the style of the Moulin Rouge version. I hope you enjoy today’s song.
This is a simple arrangement of a beautiful piece of music, the Andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467. It was famously used in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan which tells the tale of the tragic love affair between a Danish circus performer and her married Swedish cavalry officer lover. While researching this piece I discovered that Neil Diamond’s 1972 song Song Sung Blue is based on a theme from this piece. I know the song, but I’d never realised the connection!
First time on the site? Find out more about the 365 Songs project or see all of my April songs here, and if you enjoy listening to my classical pieces, you can find them here, including some more Mozart.