Poll

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Tonight is the first night of Alfie and Michael’s Together Again 2017 tour in Cardiff and for the rest of us who aren’t able to be there, it’s the moment where we get to see which song made it to number one in our Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll.

The countdown has been so far:

10. O Sole Mio / Now or Never

9.   Always On My Mind

8.   Rank Strangers

7.   Addio Sogni Di Gloria

6.   Stranger in Paradise

5.   Forever Young

4.   You’ll Never Walk Alone

3.   Don’t Stop Me Now

2.   Love Reign O’er Me

And the song at the top is:

Of course, it had to be Run – currently the most popular live song by a long chalk with double the votes of the song at second place.  I’ve chosen the VE day video as this was the first time we heard Alfie sing the song and I hope he sings it for a long time to come and even records it one day.

Thanks for all the nominations – we must do it again next year!

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Three weeks left until the 2017 Together Tour starts and excitement is almost reaching fever pitch levels.  Cardiff at the end of this month sees the first tour date and it’s safe to say that fans can’t wait.

Before then, however, we have the last three songs in the Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll and number three is a song that has featured twice before, once at number one and last year at number two:

This was of course at Gary Barlow’s BBC New Year’s Eve show in 2013 and astonishingly in this digital age, was kept a complete secret until Alfie leapt onto the stage.  Since then, it has been one of Alfie’s most popular live songs, as seen by it’s consistent presence in the live song polls.  Why is this?  Well, my theory is that as well as being totally unexpected, Alfie is so clearly having a fabulous time – it’s a joyous performance and one that you can’t listen to without smiling and dancing.

The thing is, it’s not just Alfie fans that think this about Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now – science thinks it too.  In 2016, neuroscientists from the University of Missouri published data about what makes a song happy and as the answers were all about upbeat tempo, the song that was chosen as the happiest, in seventy per cent of choices, was Don’t Stop Me Now.  Let’s see the song with Adam Lambert and Queen:

Have you entered the competition to win a signed Together Again deluxe album?  Click here – entries close this Friday.

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Half way through our hunt to find our favourite live Alfie Boe song and we come to another new entry into the top ten although Forever Young has featured quite heavily in the annual Alfie Boe Best Recorded Song poll.  The live version from the US Memorial Day concert 2016 was nominated by Sheila Currie who also chose it amongst her six sensational songs.

The song was written by Bob Dylan, an Alfie favourite, for his son and the lyrics are just beautiful, working so well for remembrance events.  In recent years Alfie has indeed performed this song twice at US and UK remembrance concerts so we have to go back to 2013 to hear the version that appears on Alfie’s album Trust:

Just love Alfie’s intro to this song – however many times you hear this anecdote, it’s still great!

Trust is available here:

Alfie’s new album, Together Again, with Michael Ball has just been released and is available here:

If you want to win a signed copy – make sure you’re subscribed to this blog to be in with a chance!  You also get four Alfie photos to download!

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It’s the week that we’ve all been waiting for – Together Again is released on Friday!  Hope to see a few of you at the Oxford Street album signing!

With this is mind, the song in at number six in our 2017 poll to find your favourite Alfie Boe Live Song is fated to be Stranger in Paradise, the song that brought Alfie and Michael together originally and is also featured on Together Again.  The live version dates from Parkinson and a time when many people first heard Alfie sing:

There is also another video showing Alfie sing it live:

This is a new entry to the best live song chart and was nominated by Diane Lilga.  The song of course is from the 1953 musical Kismet and was originally a lovers duet, although we mostly know it as solo song now.  Pretty much anyone you can think of has recorded it but I’m showing you Vic Damone and Ann Blyth from the 1955 film:

And if you want to hear Alfie singing it as a duet, then he guested on the track on Elizabeth Marvelly’s eponymous album – I have one copy to give away so answer the question to enter!

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Number seven in our countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe live song leads us into the world of classical music once again and is our first and only entry from Serenata:

It is of course the glorious Addio Sogni Di Gloria from Classic FM Live 2014 – I was lucky enough to be there and Alfie blew the audience away.  Magnificent – anyone who was there lives in eternal hope that they’re lucky enough to hear it live again.

The song was voted in at number three in the 2016 poll and number five in this year’s best recorded song poll, although two years ago it reached the top.

 

The third song in our third Best Alfie Boe Live Song poll is a song that has featured in both previous polls, albeit it has slipped slightly further down the chart this year to number eight.  The song has consistently featured in the top ten of our annual best recorded song poll as well and has also been picked twice as part of our six sensational songs series.  I’m talking about Rank Strangers:

This was the first time that Alfie sang this song and is mostly widely requested during polls, as is Alfie singing it on the Storyteller tour:

Both these version are very different from the recorded version which was famously done in one take!

Rank Strangers 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, who I’m sure introduced Alfie to the song.

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As Alfie and Michael head off to Australia for their whirlwind tour of five cities, it’s time to look at the second song in our 2017 poll to find Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song.  Number nine is a new entry to the top ten although it’s been on the long list since the first poll was run in 2014.  Here is Always On My Mind:

In a previous post, I said that this Elvis song was written by Willie Nelson but…it wasn’t! It was written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher and Mark James as a country song and first recorded by Brenda Lee:

Carson gave an interview to Jake Brown for his book, Nashville Songwriter and talk about the songwriting process

I wrote those two verses of Always On My Mind living in Springfield, Missouri, and I usually write from the melody. I’ll think of the melody or the chord structure or something … If the melody is singable, the words are not far away. It’s only a story, you know.  In this case, Always On My Mind happens to be one of those things that, universally, everybody on the planet has been there, you know. And it struck all at one time. Everybody touched base with that one. It was just magic that it was so simple and so right on the button.

I purposely didn’t write a bridge to Always On My Mind because I didn’t think it needed one. We decided to cut that dude one night in Memphis, back when I was recording for United, I guess it was—or whatever label I was recording for at that time; and so, Tips Smallman, my producer and dear, lifelong friend, said, ‘Wayne, I think this thing needs a bridge.’ And so I said, ‘Well, how do you want me to do it?’ He said, ‘Why don’t you take it upstairs to my office; I’ve got a little piano up there, or a guitar—whatever you want to use.’ I said, ‘Well, actually, I used a piano so I’ll go up there and see what I come up with.  In the meantime, Johnny Christopher comes wandering in and he said, ‘Do you need some help?’ And I said, ‘Well, it looks like I’m going to because I haven’t come up with anything as far as a bridge.’ And I said, ‘Johnny, I never thought it needed a bridge, so I never did give it a second thought.’ And we sat there and sat there and nothing happened. Then pretty soon here comes Mark James just picking up his mail at the publishing company, which was right next door to the studio. He said, ‘What are you doing?’ and I said, ‘Tips wants a bridge for this song.’ Now Mark had never heard the song at that point. And we had a version of it cut already, without the bridge. That’s why there had been some talk that Mark had wrote the song and cut me in on it at one time. So we got that dispelled real quick. Anyway, the three of us sat there and finally wrote those two lines—you know, the bridge. ‘Tell him that your sweet loving …’—that part. Hell, a hit’s a hit.

Famously, Elvis recorded the song after splitting with Priscilla and has remained, even with all his other tracks, one of his most popular songs.  Alfie sang this song on the US tour of 2012 and not to my knowledge since then.  Another song to add to my extensive ‘songs I want to hear Alfie sing live’ list!

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With ten weeks to go until the start of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s Together Again tour, it’s time to count down Alfie’s ten best live songs, as voted for by you in 2017.  There are a few new entrants to the top ten and one or two surprises but the first in our countdown is O Sole Mio / It’s Now or Never from the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012:

For many years, O Sole Mio would have been a song extremely well known to Alfie and he was still performing it well into 2012, albeit with a bit of Elvis thrown in.  Here’s the master himself:

A different arrangement of It’s Now or Never featured on the Storyteller album but was never performed live.  This song has long been a favourite with fans and cemented this with an appearance at number nine in the 2016 Best Live Song poll.  It has also been chosen twice in our semi regular Six Sensational Songs series.

O Sole Mio was written in 1898 and has been recorded and performed by huge numbers of people, making it one of the most famous Neapolitan songs around.  Alfie himself sang it on his 2007 album La Passione although that hasn’t stopped him having to explain that it’s not about ice cream to UK audiences – for those of you outside our sunny shores, the tune of O Sole Mio was the theme of Cornetto ice cream TV adverts for a ten year period in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Sorry – I just couldn’t resist putting it in!

O Sole Mio is available on La Passione:

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With the Together Again tour coming ever closer, and the Australian tour even closer, it’s time to find out which song is really the fans favourite.  Thank you to everyone who sent in their nominations, we have six new songs added to the list.  Will last year’s winner, Run, win again?

To help you decide, here is the playlist of all the songs nominated:

Get voting – you should be able to vote multiple times!

Voting will close at the end of next week and we’ll begin counting down shortly after!

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We may only be in September but the countdown to Alfie Boe and Michael Ball starts here!  Alfie has Classic Quad and the pair go to Australia in a month, not to mention the promotion of the album but Ball and Boe Together 2017 starts in three months!

To while away the time before then, let’s go back to a good old poll – this time to decide on the 2017 fans favourite live song from Alfie.  Nominations are now closed.

Here are last year’s choices to help you choose (they aren’t in the right order):

Voting will commence in two weeks and number ten will be revealed the week after after that.

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