Alfie

All posts tagged Alfie

Last week we saw the first of our two new entrants to the top ten in the 2017 Best Alfie Boe Song poll and this week sees our second new entrant; funnily enough, both newbie songs are from the same album, Alfie:

Despite Wheels of a Dream being one of Alfie’s most performed songs, dating back to the Bring Him Home tour, it’s one of his most popular, as attested to here by the sharp intake of breath on this video when we hear the first few notes.  Fans also like the lyrics of this song, seeing as Alfie lives in America and has a wife named Sarah!

The song is taken from the 1996 musical, Ragtime which opened on Broadway in 1998 and in the West End in 2003, netting an Olivier Award for Maria Friedman in the process – Maria featured in 2016’s Ball and Boe TV show.  Here are the original Ragtime stars, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald:

Stay tuned for number 7 next week!

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Last week saw a song from the earlier part of Alfie’s career that he thankfully resurrected for live performances in 2015 – Parlami D’Amore Mariu.  This week, we’re looking at the song that came in at number nine in the 2017 Best Ever Alfie Boe Song poll and is from his second Decca album, Alfie:

In My Daughter’s Eyes is a new entry to the top ten this year – it’s been on the long list since the first poll in 2014 but has never before garnered enough votes to feature in the top ten.  Written by James T Slater for Martina McBride’s 2003 Martina album, the song became an essential part of Alfie’s set list between 2011 and 2013.  In some of the many interviews Alfie gave around the release of Alfie in 2011, he said that he chose the song for his daughter, Grace, as he had already chosen Song to the Siren for his son, also Alfie and for whom the album is named (Alfred Robert was born on New Year’s Day the following year).   Besides being a beautiful song, I think it holds a special resonance to anyone who is or has a daughter – always makes me think of my dad and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  Here is Martina McBride:

Alfie is available here:

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Voting has now closed in the 2017 Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll and the following playlist contains the top ten:

 

In 2016, the top ten looked like this:

1 – Love Reign O’er Me
2 – Dimming of the Day
3 – Trust
4 – Bring Him Home
5 – First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
6 – My Heart is Yours
7 – It’s Over
8 – A Living Prayer
9 – If You Go Away
10 – Forever Young

The first thing that strikes me about this year’s list is that there is only one song from Alfie’s most successful commercial album, Together – whether this has anything to do with it not being a solo album, I couldn’t say.

In contrast to previous years, Bring Him Home is now the only song to feature in every top ten, with just two more songs featuring in two top ten countdowns.  In addition to Anthem, there are two more new entries in Wheels of a Dream and In My Daughter’s Eyes.  This means that for the first time, A Living Prayer drops out of the top ten.

Last year we saw a definite move away from Alfie’s classical repertoire towards the rockier albums and 2017 continues in the same vein, albeit this time we are seeing a resurgence in the musical theatre songs.  I can definitely see the influence of Together in these choices – it seems that hearing Alfie sing a lot of musical theatre songs in recent months, as well as his appearance in Carousel has prompted more votes for this genre of music.  Trust remains the strongest album over all the polls so far, with Alfie having two tracks and one each for Bring Him Home, Classic Quadrophenia, Storyteller, Serenata, Together and La Passione.

Stay tuned for next week’s reveal of number 10 – we’ll be counting down until the beginning of the summer tour!

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Voting has now closed in the third annual poll to find the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe song (recorded) and the top ten is in a handy playlist for you:

There are just four songs that survived from the 2014 poll and of these four, just two have been voted into the top ten in all three polls so far.

In 2015, the top ten looked like this:

  1. Addio Sogni Di Gloria
  2. Keep Me In Your Heart
  3. A Gaelic Blessing
  4. Bring Him Home
  5. A Living Prayer
  6. Nessun Dorma
  7. My Heart is Yours
  8. Rank Strangers
  9. Forever Young
  10. Je Crois Entendre Encore

The first thing that jumps out is that the top two don’t even feature this time which means my favourite song isn’t there…although another favourite, Dimming of the Day has made it for the first time.

The second thing to note is that there is a distinct move away from the more classical side of Alfie’s repertoire, as Trust makes a strong return with four songs featured.   The remaining six songs are one each from Storyteller, Serenata, Onward, Classic Quadrophenia, Bring Him Home and Alfie.  If You Go Away is the only song to return to the top ten, having missed out in 2015 and Bring Him Home stays as the only musical theatre choice.

The top ten will start counting down from next week and will lead us right up to the start of the UK tour – anyone excited yet?

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Alright, alright, it’s actually International Happiness Day but I got the title idea from my 9yo who looked at the 2015 Happy International Day of Happiness Alfie Boe Fans and said “it’s not really Happy Alfie Boe Day is it”?  We don’t exactly see eye to eye on our musical tastes although he has been known to sing along to Alfie songs before and even uttered the immortal line (on hearing Elvis sing If I Can Dream) “this is Alfie’s song, why is Elvis singing it”.

To celebrate, these are some of my favourite Alfie tracks from each of his albums:

E Lucevan Le Stelle (Classic FM Presents) – video from first series of BBC Maestro

The song recently voted the favourite Alfie Boe recorded song, A Living Prayer (Onward) – from Songs of Praise

Funiculi Funicula (La Passione) – this was a hard choice as I could easily have chosen the whole album!

On The Street Where You Live (Bring Him Home) – from QVC, picked because my son’s choir used to sing this:

In My Daughter’s Eyes (Alfie) – for all parents and children everywhere:

Angie (Storyteller)- loved the original, this is better:

My all time favourite Alfie song (so far) is Keep Me In Your Heart (Trust) – something to do with those buttons…

Addio Sogni di Gloria (Serenata) was my favourite in the Serenata review and it hasn’t changed:

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that Love Was A Dream is missing – as far as I’m aware we don’t have video of Alfie singing my favourite song from that album.  Maybe one day…

What are your songs from all Alfie’s albums?  Let us know below:

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Wheels of a Dream, from his 2011 album, Alfie.  This video is from Symfunny in June 2014 (thanks Linda for sharing):

This song always makes me think of Alfie and Sarah as a family and I’ve chosen this as today is little Alfie’s birthday and as we know, the Alfie album is named for him.  Happy Birthday Alfred Robert!

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Happy New Year!

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This time last week I asked you to vote for your favourite Alfie Boe Tour – you have been voting but this was somewhat eclipsed by the Classic Quadrophenia controversy.  So come on, what’s your favourite tour so far?

The most recent UK tour is streaking ahead so if that’s not your favourite please vote!

Over the next few weeks we’ll reveal some of your favourite tour moments, starting with the Bring Him Home tour in 2011/12.  Of the fans who chose this tour, three moments stand out:

Seeing Alfie at Blackpool whilst sitting amongst both Alfie and Jason Manford’s families:

Hearing Alfie sing In My Daughter’s Eyes whilst the film of Grace played on the big screen (the moment picked was at Bristol but I can’t find the video of that so have used Blackpool):

Finally, back to the Impossible Dream, this time with Beth Ford and Flo Bannigan at Birmingham:

Regular readers will have seen the video from earlier that day of the sound check when Alfie first heard the girls sing; he was so impressed he invited them back again for the evening performance.  And they even got some of his Roses!  There’s a lot happening for Beth Ford Music in the next few weeks so click here to keep up to date.

Bring Him Home and Alfie are available here:Alfie (alfie) album

 

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Back in November 2014 I asked “How Did You Find Alfie Boe” and I’m pleased to say that lots of you responded, being only too pleased to tell me how and when you first heard that beautiful voice.  A few of you have been on board Alfie’s musical train right since the very beginning – and by that I mean since he was singing locally in Lancashire!  One of his many nephews and nieces even filled in the survey although I don’t know which one! One respondent had followed him since he was appearing regularly in opera and another couple since his first album, Classic FM Presents.  Other reasons given were his 2007 appearance on Parkinson, other TV appearances, Desert Island Discs, through friends, surfing youtube, through hearing David Miller of Il Divo talk about Alfie and his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012.

However, like most of us Alfie fans these days, the vast majority (82%) of the respondents found Alfie through Les Miserables.  Of those 82%, just over half first saw and heard Alfie on a PBS 25th anniversary promotion and the others saw him either live or on the DVD of that concert.  This is what one smitten fan said

Saw him on PBS in Florida, USA in March 2011 singing Jean Valjean role and stopped in my tracks when hearing that voice. Watched the whole O2 Les Misarables concert and then had to find out who this wonderful tenor is. YouTubed him and listened and read everything I could find on him. The Alfie and Matt Lucas video Nessun Dorma with his hands in his pockets was what clinched him for me. Joined his Facebook page and his own web page and since have met many wonderful fans of his who over the last 3 years have become good friends. All this from that one O2 performance.

After finding out how and when fans found Alfie, I then wanted to find out when they made their first Alfie related purchase, be it  CD, DVD etc.  I admit that I was expecting most responses to be “immediately” or very quickly, given the devotion shown to Alfie by fans.  However, I was slightly surprised to find that although two thirds of responses indicated that a purchase was made either the same day or next day, the next highest response was months, at least 6-12.  In three cases there was a wait of at least a year and one waited for 3.5 years before making up (her?) mind to buy a CD.  Incidentally, the length of time before making a purchase and considering yourself to be “Boed” does not match up; with the exception of the Lancashire locals and the fan waiting 3.5 years, every single respondent considered themselves “Boed” immediately.

The survey then went on to ask which albums fans had in their collection.  For this survey, I only considered Alfie’s albums released under his own name (not including Serenata which was released after the survey) and the collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Home for the Holidays.  The rest of his recording career can be found on the Alfie Boe Discography.  The results are:

Classic FM Presents – 61% of respondents own this

La Passione – 82%

Onward – 72%

Love Was A Dream – 69%

Bring Him Home – 98%

Alfie – 95%

Storyteller – 95%

Trust – 90%

Home for the Holidays – 37%

As you can see, the most owned albums are the Decca ones released since the Les Mis connection although La Passione is the most popular album of Alfie’s back catalogue.  It occurs to me as I sit writing these results up, that I should have asked in which order these albums were purchased; it would have been interesting to see how many people had La Passione before Les Mis.  I suspect that like me, the answer would be not many,  otherwise Alfie would surely not have contemplated becoming a personal trainer for the SLC police.

DVD ownership is something else again – this time, there were only four choices as only two tours have been filmed:

Les Mis 25th concert – 96% own this

Bring Him Home tour – 83%

Storyteller tour – 75%

Home for the Holidays – 43%

Perhaps the relatively high amount of people owning the DVD of Home for the Holidays reflects the low amount owning it on CD (they don’t see the need to have it twice), otherwise the completely predictable result is that Les Mis is the most owned DVD.  Of course this was expected, given that 82% of us found Alfie that way to start with.  This is also borne out by 66% of those owning it citing it as their favourite of the DVD’s.  Storyteller comes next, followed by Bring Him Home and Home for the Holidays again bringing up the rear.

Those of you who completed the survey will remember I also asked you which album you preferred – to find out the answer, you’ll have to be a subscriber!

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….Somewhere, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  After wowing the crowd with O Sole Mio and Now Or Never earlier in the evening (for the swivel of hips as much as his voice!), Alfie donned a suit and teamed up with American soprano, Renee Fleming, for the West Side Story duet.  They became the first, and so far, only performers to appear on the palace balcony.

Alfie has a long history with the Bernstein musical, having performed as Tony in an amateur production whilst still working as TVR body mechanic before going on to record Maria on his second Decca album, Alfie.  In between, a West Side Story medley was part of the repertoire on the Boston Pops affiliated Big Band Broadway tour Alfie did after Baz Lurhmann’s La Boheme.

Tonight, Alfie will be performing at SymFunny, the Parkinson’s UK concert organised by Morgan Pochin, but in the meantime, sit back and enjoy Somewhere, which was recently nominated for the Fans Favourite Alfie Boe Duet:

 

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