Best Ever Song

All posts tagged Best Ever Song

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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The first song in the 2017 countdown takes us back to the earlier part of Alfie’s career, with the only representative from La Passione to make the list, Parlami D’amore Mariu:

This song featured in the first Best Ever Alfie Boe Song poll and came in there at number six – since then it hasn’t featured at all, possibly as we have seen a distinct move away from Alfie’s classical repertoire in the three poll since then.

Written for a film soundtrack, Gli Uomini Che MascalzoniParlami D’amore Mariu was written in 1932 by Cesare Andrea Bixio and Ennio Neri for the voice of Vittorio De Sica and translated, means “Tell Me That You Love Me”.  The original sounds like a film soundtrack but the most well know version is of course in the neapolitan style here sung by Giuseppe Di Stefano:

There are many other artists I could have chosen, including recently, Jonas Kauffman, but I chose this one as Alfie has previously mentioned Di Stefano as a favourite artist to listen to.

If you don’t yet have La Passione in your collection, it’s 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 is now open to find the 2017 best ever Alfie Boe song!  You should be able to vote for more than one song too:

Thank you to those who sent in their nominations – only two songs had not been nominated before:

Goodbye (from the deluxe version of Trust) – nominated by Sally Sadler

Anthem (from Together) – nominated by Dawn Phelan

The nomination of Goodbye makes Trust our most popular Alfie album – it now has ten songs in the long list (now containing 46 songs and coming in at just shy of three hours) so put your feet up and click here to listen.

Interestingly, despite the album being Christmas number one, just one song from Together was nominated; Alfie’s previous album, Serenata, had eight nominations for best song upon release and one, Addio Sogni Di Gloria, was the winner in 2015.

Voting will close on 2 April 2017 and the top ten will be revealed next Monday – get voting!

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Alfie’s been busy over the last couple of weeks, appearing on various radio programmes with Katherine Jenkins, of course promoting Carousel, which is only a few weeks away now:

Danny Pike, BBC Surrey – click here – 2hr 9m

Dominic King, BBC Kent – click here – 13m

Nick Coffer, BBC Three Counties – click here – 1hr 34m

Bernie Keith, BBC Northampton – click here – 2hr 45m

Midweek, BBC Radio 4 – click here

Steve Wright, BBC Radio 2 – click here

And here is Alfie and Michael on Lorraine this morning:

This week saw Dame Vera Lynn celebrate her 100th birthday and of course Alfie has a guest spot on her latest album – you’ll remember that I have one copy to give away to someone picked at random.  The lucky winner who correctly said that Alfie sang A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square at the Queen’s 90th birthday concert in 2016 was:

Jane Mann

Congratulations – please click here to send me your address!

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their favourite Alfie songs for the fourth annual best ever Alfie Boe song – if your favourite isn’t listed in the longlist, you only have a couple of days left to tell me!

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Welcome to the fourth annual Best Ever Alfie Boe Song poll!  In each of the previous three polls, a different song has come out on top:

Bring Him Home

Addio Sogni Di Gloria

Love Reign O’er Me

This year, we have a new album of songs to be considered and so I’m now asking for your nominations.  The current longlist of songs can be found on Spotify here – if your favourite isn’t there, nominate it on the form below:

Nominations will close at the end of the week and the poll will open next week.

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The day was here, no more days to wait, the Alfie Boe and Michael Ball Together tour was finally underway and my first opportunity to see the two in action was the second night, at the Bournemouth International Centre.  It seems as if I’ve lived and breathed this tour since tickets went on sale back in May and although the anticipation was immense, it wasn’t until my first ticket dropped onto the door mat this week (talk about cutting it fine Ticketmaster!) that I really allowed myself to think about hearing Alfie and Michael sing live together for the first time. Although I have been aware of Michael and followed his career for a long time (indeed it was him who introduced me to Alfie via Sweeney Todd and Les Mis) and been to see him in concert a few years ago, I admit that I was curious and slightly concerned as to how his voice would blend with Alfie’s in a live setting.

I needn’t have worried – from the first note to the last, Ball and Boe were outstanding.  Starting with Somewhere, with both off stage and progressing through more tracks from Together as well as nods to Sinatra, Elvis and James Bond, Alfie and Michael complemented each other beautifully and yet highlighted their differences too.  Michael’s Elvis was from the later years, although I do love his song choice, The Wonder of You, whereas Alfie’s That’s Alright Mama was the closest we got to rocking Alfie, complete with guitar!  The harmonies were gorgeous and the arrangements were clearly chosen to enhance the strengths of both voices and their very different approaches to singing which meant a perfect balance between the two throughout the whole concert.  My favourite Together song was A Thousand Years but the finale of the Les Mis medley was absolutely spine tingling – immediately after the concert I mused that I would have liked to have heard Bring Him Home all in one go but on reflection, it was actually really lovely to hear a new way of performing a song I’ve heard lots and neatly finished the Les Mis segment, coming after the soaring vocals of I Dreamed A Dream.  The encore of You’ll Never Walk Alone was also pretty special…what it will be like in Liverpool with the Kop choir I can’t imagine.

As befits two vocal giants, each had their own segment of the show and Michael gave a superb performance of Gethsemane before leading into his trademark song, Love Changes Everything.  He must have sung that song thousands of times in his career but it was still magical.  However, for me, the two highlights of the night came with Alfie’s solo spot.  Come on, you’re not surprised by that, are you?  Firstly, came my favourite song which contains my favourite line (yes, the one that goes “buttons on your blouse”) and I had to restrain myself from jumping up from my seat there and then.  Luckily, Alfie had us all up on our feet singing and dancing anyway so I was a happy bunny.  Here is Keep Me In Your Heart from Cardiff, thanks to Linda W for sharing:

I was even happier when Alfie went on to perform the fans favourite Alfie Boe song in our recent poll, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia.  Although I don’t think anything could match the intensity of that first performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, last night was a close second for me.  Sitting exactly in front of Alfie (I couldn’t have got a better seat if I’d tried) I could see the intense concentration and vocal technique necessary for that level of performance which once again bowled me over.  Judging by the roar of applause from the almost packed arena, I wasn’t the only one either.

Overall, my first Ball and Boe concert was a triumph and I can’t wait to see where they take it by the end of the tour (I have a few more opportunities to judge).  The show itself was very well rehearsed and choreographed, although I’m pleased to report that not everything went perfectly in that regard.  You know you’ve been at an Alfie concert when something goes wrong and Bournemouth was no exception.  Alfie’s long time MD Murray Gould and fellow guitarist, Sam, had to play a very long intro to A Wonderful World due to Alfie’s repeated corpsing and even when he eventually got the first line out, it was through gritted teeth as he was still inclined to giggle helplessly.  Michael of course was no help, openly laughing until he cried.  Michael and Alfie have chemistry in spades and this was abundantly clear in the banter between songs, as was the mutual respect with which these two fabulous singers hold each other.

Bravo gentlemen!

Alfie and Michael’s new album, Together was released on Friday and is available here:

together-album-cover

Click here to see remaining dates on the tour.

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We’ve reached the top!  Over the last ten weeks we have been counting down to this moment, finding out which song is the winner of the 2016 Best Alfie Boe Song poll.  Before we find out, let’s look at the 2 – 10 in reverse order:

10. Forever Young

9.   If You Go Away

8.   A Living Prayer

7.   It’s Over

6.   My Heart Is Yours

5.   First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

4.   Bring Him Home

3.   Trust

2.   Dimming of the Day

And so, the song at the top, a new entry to both the long list and the top ten is Love Reign O’er Me:

Thanks to Annie Lloyd for nominating this song – great to see it straight in at number 1!  This song, perhaps more than any other from Classic Quadrophenia, shows off Alfie’s vocal strength and versatility.  The high notes are just majestic, there’s no other word for it, whilst the quieter moments have such warmth and restraint.  Anyone who has been lucky enough to see Alfie sing this live will attest to the power of his voice.  Hearing it at the premiere of Classic Quad at the Royal Albert Hall last year was one of the best musical experiences of my life – and I don’t expect it to be bettered any time soon.  Quite simply took my breath away.  You can read more about that amazing evening here.

Thank you everyone for sharing your views on the top ten, it’s been a really enjoyable way (for me) to count down to the tour.  Guess what?  We’ve done it, we’ve arrived at the tour!  Hope to see lots of you at some of the concerts – come and say hi!

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Two weeks left on our quest to find our favourite Alfie Boe song…and just ten days until the first date of the tour hits Cardiff!

As mentioned last week, the top three songs in the 2016 poll are new entries this year – it’s really wonderful to see fans embracing some of Alfie’s less well known songs and showing them some love.  Number two is another favourite of mine (no, they’re not ALL my favourites!) and like number three, is also from Trust.  Unlike Trust, however, Dimming of the Day puts me in somewhat of a dilemma; the recorded version, with Shawn Colvin, only exists on the album which means I can’t show it to you here.  Luckily, Alfie performed this song extensively with Emilia Mitiku (click here to find out more about Emilia) on the Storyteller tour:

This version was chosen as third place (behind Laura Wright, Barcelona and Bryn Terfel, Pearl Fishers) in our poll to find fans favourite Alfie Boe duet.

Dimming of the Day was written by Richard and Linda Thompson and has been covered by many artists, including Alison Krauss, David Gilmour, Bonnie Raitt and Mary Black.  Of those, I like Black’s version the best:

The last word on this song has to go to the evergreen Tom Jones though, who sang Dimming of the Day on his 2012 album Spirit in the Room.  The song wasn’t written for him but it’s still an example of voice and song coming together in perfect harmony:

If you want to hear Alfie duet with Shawn Colvin you’ll have to buy the album:

trust

Next week – number one!

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