Best Ever Live Song

All posts tagged Best Ever Live Song

Halfway through the countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe Best Live Song 2018 and we arrive at a song that many fans described as their favourite track from Ball and Boe’s Together Again album:

The song was written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, with Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot and was originally two solo tracks; English for Celine Dion and Italian for Andrea Bocelli.  The song was then released as a duet by Dion and Bocelli and that is the version that is most well known.

Both Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have sung this many times with other people and it has also featured in the repertoires of many other singers and festivals.

Composer Foster had said that is is “a song that I just never get tired of playing, I never get tired of hearing it, and I never get tired of people telling me that they enjoy it. And it seems to mean a lot—it means a lot of different things to a lot of people. So it’s a powerful piece of music. I think it came through me, and I think Carole’s lyric is beautiful. And it’s very meaningful to me that when all is said and done, there is a piece of music like that, that will undoubtedly outlive me. It was a moment—that song was a moment for sure.”

The Prayer was was one of my standout songs of Together Again – it’s beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian.  Both Alfie and Michael excel here and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.

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The countdown to the summer concerts continues and we are now at number six.  So far, so good but this week there’s a difference: two songs tied for sixth!  The first is a song that has featured in all the previous Best Live Song polls and was first seen in 2012 on Alfie’s Bring Him Home tour:

The song was written by Albert Brumley, a musician and singer born in Oklahoma in 1905. After studying at the Hartford Musical Institute, Arkansas, Brumley toured with the Hartford Quartet and went on to write / copyright an astonishing 800 songs. The most famous of these is I’ll Fly Away from 1932. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Song Writer’s Hall of Fame and his songs have been covered by amongst others, Bob Dylan.

The second song is a new entry and featured on Ball and Boe’s 2016 chart topper, Together (46 seconds in is the best bit of this video):

The song is of course A Thousand Years, one of my favourite songs from both the Together tours and album.  Written for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the song was written by Christina Perri and David Hodges and recorded by Perri.  Released in 2011, the song has charted three times, eventually reaching number 13.

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Following on from last week’s installment of Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song poll 2016, we have now arrived at the half way stage, with two songs that tied for second place in 2014.

Number six in the countdown is a song that hasn’t appeared in Alfie’s set list since the Bring Him Home tour and is quite tricky to find on YouTube (although it does feature on the Alfie: Live DVD) but luckily, we have Nikki Lewis to thank for recording Jacob’s Ladder in Birmingham, 2011:

Jacob’s Ladder is a spiritual, gospel tinged song that has been recorded by a variety of artists including Bruce Springsteen and Paul Robeson – click here to see these two completely different versions of the song.

As mentioned earlier, the song that was voted in at number five is the song that tied with Jacob’s Ladder for second spot last time and of course it’s Barcelona with Laura Wright:

Laura and Alfie’s voices work so well together and the audience here clearly thought so too.  Laura tweeted a photo the next day accompanied by “giving it some welly on the high notes last night” – well, there’s plenty of high notes Laura! Although this is the only footage we have of Alfie and Laura singing this together, Alfie did appear as a guest on Katherine Jenkins’s Home Sweet Home album singing Barcelona.

Barcelona was originally written by Freddie Mercury and Mike Moran and recorded by Mercury and the Spanish soprano, Montserrat Caballe in 1987.  Memorably, it featured heavily during coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  Here is the original:

As we know, Alfie is a keen Queen and Freddie Mercury fan and during his ITV Perspectives programme on Mercury, he was seen backstage before the Barcelona song saying it was “quite a big sing”.  I also seem to remember he was messing about with his hair quite a lot as well!

Alfie: Live DVD and Home Sweet Home are available here:

Alfie BHH DBD

katherine jenkins katherine jenkins

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In the countdown to Scarborough, we’ve been voting to find out  fans Favourite Alfie Boe Live Song and this seems an even more perfect time to be doing this now we know about the Together Tour. This is the second time we’ve run this poll and I’m sure there’ll be a third time – we’ll hopefully have some duets with Michael Ball in the running next year.

The top five last time around was:

Don’t Stop Me Now

Rank Strangers

You Are My Hearts Delight

Buona Sera

Jacobs Ladder / Barcelona

Will they all feature in the same order this time?  Over the next few weeks we’ll be revealing all, starting now with numbers 9 and 10.

In at number 10, we have a new entry, the James Bond Medley from Strictly in 2011.

Alfie also sang this on his Bring Him Home Tour that year and appears on the Alfie: Live DVD in which he quips “it’s not the same without the dancers, is it?”  I think Alfie’s voice is tailor made for the traditional Bond themes although perhaps it’s sacrilege to think of anyone other than Dame Shirley Bassey singing Diamonds are Forever or Goldfinger.

Number 9 is also a new entry to the top ten but like the Bond Medley, is not a new song.  Indeed, both are songs that haven’t been part of Alfie’s repertoire for a while now so it’s good to see fans have long memories.  O Sole Mio / Now or Never, however, may be popular not just to the song but the memory of that wonderful summer four years ago when everyone was looking at London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics:

O Sole Mio is a song that goes a long way back for Alfie and he has performed it many times over the years although only for a period of twelve months or so in conjunction with Now or Never.  Now or Never, of course, is a version of O Sole Mio, first recorded by Elvis and went on to be his second best selling single.  The song went on to feature (albeit in a completely different arrangement) on Alfie’s Storyteller album.

Numbers 7 and 8 in the countdown will be revealed next Monday!

Alfie: Live DVD and Storyteller album are available here:

storytellercdAlfie BHH DBD

Alfie Boe and Michael Ball: Together Tour information can be found here.

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…I’m sure that you don’t need reminding that it was Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song (as voted by you), Don’t Stop Me Now, on Gary Barlow’s New Year’s Eve Celebration:

What a great end / start to the year that was!

So, to round off the year, I’m looking back at my top ten thoughtsofjustafan moments (in no particular order) – hope you enjoy.

1 – Alfie’s best ever recorded song countdown – some great songs nominated (click here for the longlist) and while the      result was never really in doubt, some of the top ten were very unexpected.  This was my most commented on post      of the year!

2 – Michael Boe’s interview and the release of the track list for his next album – great news, Michael told me that him       and Sean will shortly be back in the studio!  The release of the track list was the 3rd most viewed post!

3 – Serenata – my favourite track changes all the time.  The first post about the new album was the 2nd most viewed        post this year, sandwiched between the Alfie on the Royal Variety Show and Michael’s new album.

4 – Caruso live at Newcastle (thanks Linda for sharing):

5 – Symfunny stage door – so lucky to be able to chat to relaxed Alfie!  But it was so cold…in June!

6 – Getting published on the Huffington Post UK!  Such a thrill!

7 – Hearing Addio Sogni di Gloria at Classic FM live (thanks Marcia for sharing):

8 – Quadrophenia on tour – roll on Royal Albert Hall next July:

9 – Laura Wright’s interview.

10 – Two (!!!) interviews from James Morgan – such a lovely man.

Last, but not least, thank you for all the support that you have given me since day one of this blog.  Thank you doesn’t seem adequate somehow but a huge big thank you hug for each and every one of you – some I’ve met, some I haven’t but your support is very much appreciated.  In particular, thanks to:

Debbie Bannigan for her unstinting support, encouragement and willingness to share her amazing fount of knowledge – thoughtsofjustafan truly would not exist in its current form without you xxx

Sue Black for sharing every single blog post ever published! xxx

Linda Wellington, Nikki Lewis, Marcia Studley for sharing their Alfie videos xxx

Carole Hunt for letting me use the banner photo of Alfie on the site xxx

Claire Smith and Michelle Keogh for sharing my Alfie survey on their facebook sites – and thanks to all who filled it in xxx

Cynthia Shepherd, Cecelia Powell, Linda McCann and Annie Lloyd for being my top commenters xxx

What are your top ten moments – leave me a comment!

Happy New Year to you all 

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Last week we had the chance to hear Alfie on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night, recorded back in October.  All I can say is that it was worth waiting for  – Alfie sang a handful of songs from Serenata and of course the obligatory Bring Him Home.  After all this time, Alfie sings this song differently every time and FNIMN was one of the most moving I’ve heard for a while.  Thanks again to Marcia for sharing:

Tomorrow is of course the first night of the much anticipated tour and last Saturday night saw the number one song revealed on the Alfie Boe Best Ever Live Song poll – if you missed it, here is the result:

Lastly, in a quiet week (rehearsals going at full pace I imagine), Serenata debuted at 14 in the UK album charts and 3 in the classical chart.  The surprise re-entry of You’ll Never Walk Alone in at number 8 on the classical chart shows that people are discovering all types of Alfie music. Go Alfie!

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So, with just a week to go before Alfie Boe’s Arena tour starts in Newcastle, the number one song in the Alfie Boe Best Ever Live Song poll is:

A powerhouse performance by Alfie at Gary Barlow’s 2013 New Year TV show – and a complete surprise to us all!  Imagine my annoyance when I missed it and woke up to a zillion messages on my phone and on twitter!!!!!

As we know, Freddie Mercury and Queen were a big influence on Alfie and this song is from the 1978 Queen album, Jazz. Mercury wrote both music and lyrics and is based around the piano; guitar being only a small part of the recorded version.  Here is the Queen version:

To recap the top 5:

Rank Strangers – Storyteller tour

You are my heart’s delight – Blackpool

Buona Sera – Belfast Proms

Jacobs Ladder / Barcelona (Laura Wright version)

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As we countdown towards the tour – four weeks today but who’s counting – it’s time to see which song you voted into fourth place in the Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll.

Janet Hudson nominated this moment from the second Blackpool date on the 2013 Storyteller tour and appeared to be a completely off the cuff moment.  Just when the audience was expecting to hear Murray Gould start playing the intro to Bring Him Home, Alfie instead broke into You Are My Heart’s Delight in the original German.

Most fans know that this song has special meaning for Alfie and family, being a favourite of his Dad’s and also the first song he ever sang at a professional audition.  Those of us lucky enough to be there last April were blown away by the vocals and the emotion.  What an atmosphere!

Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz is from the 1929 operetta, The Land of Smiles, written for Richard Tauber by Franz Lehar. The video below showcases an audio version by Tauber:

Alfie recorded You Are My Heart’s Delight (in English) for his album of Lehar songs, Love Was A Dream and this version made the top ten of the Alfie Boe Best Ever Recorded Song.

Alfie’s new album, Serenata, can be pre-ordered below:

serenata

 

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Five weeks today many of us Alfie Boe fans will be taking our seats for the first show, in Newcastle, of Alfie’s new tour.  If you’re excited, share this on facebook or twitter with #AlfieBoeUKTour – thank you in advance!

In anticipation of this, let’s kick off the countdown of Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Live Song – thank you for nominating and voting.  Some of the songs that were nominated are very familiar to us already, as they were also voted in the top ten of Alfie Boe’s Best Recorded Song earlier this year or have featured in other polls.  Just to recap, the songs nominated were:

  • Don’t Stop Me Now – New Year’s Eve 2013
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Buona Sera – Belfast Proms 2014
  • You Are My Heart’s Delight – Blackpool 2013
  • Always on My Mind
  • Barcelona – Laura Wright duet 2013
  • Rank Strangers
  • Led Zeppelin’s Rock n’Roll
  • Midnight Rider
  • Sweet Home Chicago

And so, the song placed at Number Five is…..Rank Strangers, a capella version from the Storyteller tour, 2013.   This was nominated by Liz Hardman and this particular version, sung as the encore each night of that tour was one of the highlights for many fans.  The recorded version was voted into third place in the Best Recorded Song poll.

Alfie’s Rank Strangers was recorded for the 2012 album Storyteller and was famously recorded in one take – Alfie ending up practically conducting the rest of the band to get the sound he wanted.  The song was originally written by Albert Brumley, a musician and singer born in Oklahoma in 1905. After studying at the Hartford Musical Institute, Arkansas, Brumley toured with the Hartford Quartet and went on to write / copyright an astonishing 800 songs. The most famous of these is I’ll Fly Away from 1932. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Song Writer’s Hall of Fame and his songs have been covered by amongst others, Bob Dylan, who I’m sure introduced Alfie to the song. Unfortunately for Alfie I couldn’t find a video of Dylan singing the song but here is The Stanley Brothers who made the song famous in the 1950’s:

Although Rank Strangers appeared on Storyteller, Alfie first began singing this in concert at the beginning of 2012, mainly using an a capella sound with sometimes just a guitar accompaniment.  To see how Alfie’s rendition has changed, the videos below are from the Bring Him Home tour, the mid-2012 tour and the Storyteller tour:

Let me know which one you prefer (using the comment box below) – mine is the last one for many reasons, not least that I was there to hear Alfie playing guitar and to see how much it meant to him to play at the Royal Albert Hall under his own name.

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Alfie’s new album, Serenata is available to pre-order now:

serenata