I mentioned this song earlier this week when I played Hooked on a Feeling so I thought I’d play it today. Nina Pretty Ballerina was recorded by Abba in 1973, pre-Eurovision and was released to promote their first album, Ring Ring. It’s not exactly the most well known of Abba tracks, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!
A bit more upbeat than the rest of this week’s songs, here’s Save the Last Dance for Me. It was first recorded by Ben E. King and The Drifters in 1960, then by Dolly Parton in 1983 and by Michael Bublé in 2006. My version is a bit more Bublé than Ben E. King! It would have been nice to be backed by a full band and brass section, but I hope you enjoy this solo version!
Something tongue in cheek today – Madonna lived to tell the tale of her performance at the Brits last night, despite a wardrobe malfunction which could have been serious! She’s a pro though – getting straight up and on with the song. I’m not sure how much of her back catalogue fits my piano tunes, but here’s Live to Tell from the 1986 True Blue album. It was also used in her then-husband Sean Penn’s film At Close Range.
Today’s song, coming a bit late in the day, is Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne. I wasn’t too familiar with this song and had never played it before tonight, but it’s a powerful song with beautiful lyrics. I hope you enjoy this piece.
The idea for today’s song came when my sons were watching Guardians of the Galaxy and I remembered this song from Ally McBeal days. Hooked on a Feeling was recorded by various artists, but the most well-known version was the Blue Swede release in 1974 which included the “hooga chaka” introduction first recorded by Jonathan King.
The bass line of the verses of the Blue Swede version reminds me very much of Abba’s Nina Pretty Ballerina bass line. Have a listen: here’s Nina Pretty Ballerina and verse 2 of Hooked on a Feeling (from “lips as sweet as candy…”). There must have been something in the water in Sweden in the 70s…
Blue Swede lead singer Björn Skifs is a bit of a Swedish legend and Hooked on a Feeling has huge appeal. Here is his 2014 performance at the wonderful summer open air concerts in Stockholm’s Skansen.
After Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music tribute last night at the Oscars, I thought the most appropriate song to play this morning was The Sound of Music. I played Climb Ev’ry Mountain last time round, and there are no doubt more Sound of Music tunes to be played this year. For now, I hope you enjoy this!
Today’s song is Enya’s Watermark from the 1988 album of the same name. It featured in the 1990 comedy Green Card and, randomly, in the animated film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted! I hope you enjoy this relaxing piece of music for a Sunday.
One of the things I’m most enjoying about this year’s challenge is the variety of songs I’m playing: this week I’ve covered everything from songs from the shows, to Mozart, to dance anthems and I’m finishing the week with Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus! I think the video of this song distracts from what is actually a really good pop song with strong lyrics and a powerful melody line, especially with the repeated fifth and sixth intervals of the verse. I hope you enjoy my version and you’ll be glad to know there’s no accompanying video!
Today I’m up in Aberdeen, speaking at my third SCILT Business Breakfast to school children from across the northeast about the importance of studying languages. It’s been a pleasure taking part in these events, working with a great team and speaking to enthusiastic learners.
As The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen is the only song I know about Aberdeen it seemed right to play it today, but I’ve got a confession to make. It wasn’t until I was listening to Kenneth McKellar’s jaunty version in preparation for recording my version and I heard the reference to the “heavenly dancers” in the verse that I realised the Northern Lights referred to were the Aurora Borealis and not what I assumed were the harbour lights! I’m feeling a bit daft now…
I didn’t see any Northern Lights last night. I’ll just have to go to Iceland or Norway…
Today’s song is Abba’s Hasta Mañana. This song was almost chosen as their 1974 Eurovision entry in favour of Waterloo as it was thought that Waterloo may be too risky and Hasta Mañana represented more the style of Eurovision. Waterloo won out in the end and the rest was history! This seems like a simple song, but I think the chord pattern is pretty sophisticated. It’s definitely not a three-chord song! In my E major version the chorus goes like this: E – G#m – C#m – C#7 – F#m B – F# – B – E – G#m – C#7 – F#m – A – Am – E – C#7 – F#m – B – E. So if you want to strum along you’ll be fine. At least until the modulation but that’s what capos are for!