Song 14:365 is Wind Beneath My Wings, originally recorded Colleen Hewett in 1982, but made popular by Bette Midler for the soundtrack to the film Beaches. The random fact about this song is that in 2002 it was voted the most-played song at British funerals!
G flat major
As promised yesterday, having watched the Piano Guys’ mashup of Fight Song with Amazing Grace, I decided to play Amazing Grace today. With words written by English poet and clergyman John Newton, this is probably one of the most famous hymns ever written. Newton grew up without religion but became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748 his ship was battered by a violent storm off the west coast of Donegal and he called out to God for mercy, a moment marking his spiritual conversion. While the ship was being repaired he wrote the first verse of the hymn. He left the slave trade and started studying theology, and was ordained in 1764.
For the past six months I’ve been hooked on Mad Men and I’ve squeezed in all seven series of this brilliant dramatisation of the New York advertising industry in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Each episode has a signature song, and this song ends the final episode of the final series.
I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing started out as I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke and was used as the famous “Hilltop” Coke commercial in which young people from all over the world came together to “sing in harmony”, all holding their bottles of coke. The success of the ad led it to be rerecorded without the commercial element by both the New Seekers and an ad-hoc group of studio singers who called themselves the Hillside Singers.
The significance of the song used in the final episode of Mad Men is that the troubled protagonist Don Draper has has been attending a retreat and is finally at peace with himself. As the episode and the final series come to an end, he is seen meditating on a cliffside with a smile on his face. It cuts to the original footage of the Coke ad, and we assume that Don then returned to McCann-Erickson, his creative talent renewed, and went on to create the Hilltop commercial in the fictional universe of Mad Men.
I clearly remember this song from my childhood, and I guess even then I liked the idea of “teaching the world to sing”. Languages are a good alternative!
Today’s song is ABBA’s Kisses of Fire, the B-Side to the 1979 single Does Your Mother Know. It has one of the best modulations of all ABBA songs in my opinion! When I taught at Mearns Castle we did a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream combined with ABBA songs and this song featured, complete with that all-important modulation!
If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or see all of my August songs here. If you’re looking for more ABBA songs, have a listen to my Tribute to ABBA album or check out this year’s ABBA songs from my archives.
Today’s song is my version of Eternal Flame by The Bangles. One of the most well known ballads from the 80s (1988 to be exact), this song has been covered many times, including by Atomic Kitten in 2001 and – in French – by Bonnie Tyler and Laura Zen.
For more 80s classics, click here, and to hear more 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.
With Bang-A-Boomerang I’m “returning” to ABBA today. It was recorded in 1974 for the ABBA album, but was then selected as a potential song for the 1975 Melodifestivalen in which the song representing Sweden in Eurovision is chosen. Having won the contest in 1974, ABBA did not want to take part, so they gave the song to another band managed by their producers Polar Music, Svenne & Lotta. The song was placed 3rd in the Melodifestivalen, went on to become a hit for Svenne & Lotta.
There’s more ABBA 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’s song is Bob Dylan’s 1962 song Blowin’ In The Wind. It can be considered a protest song, but basically asks a series of rhetorical questions about war, peace and freedom, and stating that the answer to these questions is “blowin’ in the wind”. The random fact about today’s song is that in 1975 it was included as poetry in a Sri Lankan high school English textbook, but this caused controversy as the song replaced Shakespeare texts in a previous edition of the textbook!
This is another of the many songs I’ve played which hadn’t even been written the last time I took on this challenge. Like my previous Bruno Mars song, Just The Way You Are, Marry You featured on his 2011 debut album Doo-Wops and Hooligans. I’ve moved it into G flat major, slowed the song down a bit and “balladified” it (!), so I hope you like this slightly different version of the song.
Today’s song is dedicated to a special friend, Joan Herald, who celebrates her birthday today! Every time I hear Cher’s Believe I think of Joan as it is one of her many karaoke favourites!
Recorded in 1998 the song went to #1 all over the world. This song was groundbreaking in using the Auto-Tune effect. The recording engineers were experimenting with effects on the lead vocal track and the producer, Mark Taylor, said that “this was the most nerve-wracking part of the project, because I wasn’t sure what Cher would say when she heard what I’d done to her voice”, but that when she heard it she said, “It sounds great.” When her record company requested that the effect be removed, she responded, “Over my dead body!” Of course, following the huge success of Believe, Auto-Tune became very popular and it is often referred to as the “Cher effect”.