Six Sensational Songs

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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:

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The latest in Alfie’s Six Sensational Songs features Janet Baldwin who first found Alfie on Classic FM.  Janet says that “even then his wonderful voice stopped me dead in my tracks on my way out to work!  I actually saw him for the first time on TV on the Classic Brits … and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Here are Janet’s choices:

When You Wish Upon A Star, chosen by Janet because “Alfie’s version of this song helped me back into the real world after a serious illness”,

Torna A Surriento, from Alfie’s appearance at the Michael Ball Prom, Michael gives him a rather long intro and the song starts at 1 min 25.  Janet says that “Spent a happy holiday in Sorrento following in Alfie’s footsteps doing our own La Passione tour, visiting the Amalfi coast.”

Be Still My Soul.  Janet says that this has always been a favourite hymn but “Alfie makes it special”.

In My Daughter’s Eyes – Janet chose this simply because she loves the song – the perfect reason!

Funiculi Funicula, with the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir (one of my favourite videos, In always sing along, or attempt to anyway!) – Janet chose this as she used to enjoy singing this with her local operatic society.

A Thousand Years at Scarborough this summer. Janet says that this “brings back special memories of a rainy night in Scarborough! Looking forward to reuniting with my ‘Boe Buddies’ in December”.

Thanks Janet for sharing your songs with us – again, such a variety of songs represented, with four of Janet’s choices not having been chosen before.

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It’s been a while since we looked at Six Sensational Songs and with so much happening in the next few months, it might be a while until we feature the series again, so let’s go into the weekend with six fantastic songs chosen by Kathryn Richards.  Kathryn has been following Alfie since first seeing him on Parkinson in 2007.

Stranger in Paradise, was chosen because it was indeed the first time Kathryn heard or saw Alfie and the song that made her fall in love.

E Lucevan E Stelle, chosen because this was the second time Kathryn saw Alfie and as he was singing opera, she thought “wow what a voice”.

God Give Me Strength, chosen because “I love this song and the video of him at the Scottish Proms was really good.”

Marechiari, chosen by Kathryn because “it always puts a smile on my face, a very catchy tune”.

Torna A Sorriento, chosen because “it transports me to Italy, a great summer song”.

Agnus Dei, chosen after Kathryn ” bought You’ll Never Walk Alone CD and the lovely haunting sound to Alfie’s voice gives me goosebumps and tears.”

I’m still astounded that fans continue to add new songs to our Six Sensational Songs playlist; of Kathryn’s six, four have not been chosen before.

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As August winds to a close and Classic Quadrophenia in USA gets closer (less than a week!), it’s time for another look at your favourite Alfie Boe songs.  This week it’s the turn of Helen Linden, who first heard Alfie sing in 2010 at the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert. Helen says “I’d never even heard of Alfie Boe up to this point – it was my then sixteen year old daughter who persuaded me to go with her to see Marius as she was a massive Nick Jonas fan.  That’s when I discovered Alfie and have been a fan ever since.

These are Helen’s six sensational songs:

Caruso, chosen “because I love the tone of Alfie’s voice for this dramatic song. It’s a powerful melody and how Alfie manages to fit in all the words, I’ll never know! It was a favourite of my Dad’s when Pavarotti used to sing it but I think Alfie does it better.”

Chitarra Romana, added to Helen’s list of favourites when Alfie performed it at the MEN arena in Manchester. It was just a joy to hear Alfie singing this upbeat song on the sofa with Murray and the rest of the band.

The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, chosen because it’s one of Helen’s favourite songs and “when I heard Alfie singing the first line….followed by ‘I was sick’, I just roared with laughter. It took Alfie a while to get back ‘n the zone’ but love how he doesn’t take himself too seriously.”  I couldn’t find that particular video so I included another where he was clearly enjoying himself with a laugh.

Volare, chosen because “I just love this song and Alfie’s interaction with the audience during this one. I even brought Castanets to play during one of the shows!”

Love Reign O’er Me, from Classic Quad.  As Helen says, “not an easy song to sing but Alfie just nails it. And that last note. Well, what can I say?”  Having written about this song for to years now, I agree that there aren’t enough superlatives to do justice to Alfie’s voice on this song and indeed the whole album.

The song that started it all for Helen: “I first heard Alfie sing this back in 2010 at the O2 for the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert. I’d never even heard of Alfie Boe up to this point.  But I was hooked, just like so many others after hearing Alfie Bring Him Home. It’s my favourite favourite Alfie song and I never get tired of hearing him sing it.”

Love Reign O’er Me and Bring Him Home now tie with A Living Prayer as the most chosen songs for your choice of Alfie Boe’s Six Sensational Songs and nice to see three new songs in this series.  Thanks Helen for sharing your songs with us.  If you would like to share your six sensational songs with us, please fill in the form:

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August is traditionally a quiet time for Alfie Boe and his fans and 2017 is no exception.  How lucky then that we have Eliane’s Six Sensational Songs to keep us going!  Eliane is from Brazil and first started following Alfie after seeing him at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 – here are her six songs.

O Sole Mio / Now or Never – Eliane says “unforgettable, the first time I’ve seen or heard Alfie”.

I’m showing the clip of Trust instead of a full performance as Elaine fell in love with this and it’s now her ringtone!

Dimming of the Day – Eliane’s heart “gets tight, especially in the line ‘I see you on the street in company'” – I’m right there with you on that Eliane.

My Heart is Yours, chosen because Eliane “loves the sweetness and poetry of the lyrics” which as we know, were written by Alfie himself.

Parlami D’Amore Mariu, because Eliane “loves Alfie singing in Italian” – a lot of fans would agree!  This performance is from way back in early 2012.

For the third time, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quad has been chosen to be part of this series, making it equal to Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna and second only to A Living Prayer.

Thanks Eliane for your choices – yet again, I’m amazed that each selection gives us at least one song not nominated before.  Altogether we have chosen thirty nine Alfie songs – impressive!  If you would like to join the series, please fill in the form:

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Over half way through the year and as time counts down to Alfie’s upcoming appearances with Pete Townshend and Billy Idol in Classic Quadrophenia across the pond, we turn to an American fan, Nancy Webb for her choice of six favourite Alfie Boe songs.  I first met Nancy on the Serenata tour of 2014 when she and some fellow US fans joined us for a memorable train ride to Cardiff for the last night of that tour.  Two near misses with missing passengers (both going and returning!) and lots and lots of chat and giggles accompanied by my mum’s mince pies frame the memories of that wonderful trip.  Let’s look at Nancy’s choices:

Nessun Dorma, in Matt Lucas’s kitchen.  Nancy says “This was the first song that came up on Google after I saw Alfie in the 25th Anniversary concert. Alfie’s power stunned me again but the humour and gentle humanity of the man won my heart.”

Addio Sogni Di Gloria.  Nancy says “What can I say. I just love it! Alfie could blow the roof off a building when he sings this one. I voted for it as my favourite of the year in the last contest.”  It was a very worthy winner in 2016!

Stranger in Paradise, Parkinson – Nancy says “Another stunner! He was so young, so handsome and so amazing. Several people have said over the years that this was the performance that made them fans (pre Les Mis days). I already loved his voice, but this made me sit up and pat myself on the back for having excellent taste. He is just great here.”

Amazing Grace (starts 14m 21).  Nancy says the song is”a personal favourite since I was a teenager, but no one had ever sung it the way I wanted to hear it…missing notes, straining to hit the highs, flat etc. When I saw the old video of Alfie fronting for the Fron Male Voice Choir and he started to sing this, I actually had tears in my eyes. No problem hitting the high notes and then going higher….just beautiful. Not to be morbid, but I have asked my daughter to play this at my funeral (many years from now, of course)”.

Rank Stranger – Nancy says “I can not get over the absolute silence in the auditoriums/arenas when he sings this…not a cough or a shuffle, hardly a breath. When he finishes, there is a second more of silence as people come back to earth and then the applause. It is just wonderful!”

Agnus Dei – Nancy says “the crystal clarity/purity of this song makes me catch my breath every time I play it. I have it on his You’ll Never Walk Alone compilation, but did not find out where he recorded it originally until much later. That CD, Eternal Light: A Requiem, is so very beautiful, and Alfie could make an angel cry with happiness.

Thanks Nancy for letting us share your six sensational songs – the thing I love most about this series is enjoying songs and videos from the past, it’s been a while since I saw the one from the days when Alfie supported the Fron Male Voice Choir.

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The latest in our series of Alfie Boe sensational songs comes from Lee Kelly.  Lee first became aware of Alfie shortly after the 25th anniversary Les Mis concert and was spellbound.  She’s since been lucky enough to see him live a few times and met him in New York on 28 February last year. In her words, she was a “quivering wreck”! These are Lee’s choices:

Trust, chosen simply because Lee loves the album.

Wayfaring Stranger – love the fun Alfie’s having in this video!  Lee chose this song because of the “haunting words”.

Tell Me It’s Not True, chosen as “Blood Brothers is my husband’s favourite musical and hearing Alfie sing Tell Me It’s Not True is wonderful”,

Run – Lee chose this as she has “always liked this song and Alfie takes it to another level”.

Bring Him Home, chosen as Lee says “Alfie makes every hair stand on end every time I hear him sing this” – I think we all agree!

Rank Stranger

Thanks for sharing your favourite songs with us Lee.

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The summer tour is over but no need to cry because we are in the rather unusual position of having lots to look forward to!  Performances in three countries, a new album, we’re in danger of being rather spoilt in the latter half of 2017.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at six more sensational songs, this time from Karen Rogers.  I first met Karen, very briefly, at a Storyteller album signing in London’s Oxford Street and since then we have run into each other at several concerts, culminating in a memorable evening in Bournemouth last year.  Ball and Boe were the warm up act for an absolutely hilarious evening with our Boe Buddies – how many Alfie Boe fans can you get into a single hotel room was the name of the game!  Here are Karen’s six songs:

A Living Prayer, which appears in this series for the fourth time now.  Karen says “I’m not religious in any shape or form but absolutely love this song. The words, even as a non believer are so very beautiful. The video that accompanies the song is lovely too and adds to the emotion.”

Bring Him Home at the 25th anniversary concert.  Karen says that she chose it because “as Alfie’s signature song how could I not include it? However the reason I chose it was because of the memories it evokes. I never thought I would get to see Alfie, live, in Les Miserables but when he announced he would be reprising the role in New York I knew I had to get there. I went with the lovely Carole Hunt and we saw him 4 times. Each time was as special as the first. The picture in my head of him sat at the barricade with Marius at his side asleep as he sings it brings tears to my mind every time. Very special times.”  We don’t have footage of his stage appearances so I chose this video as the next best thing.

Doctor Jimmy, from Classic Quadrophenia – what a fabulous evening that was.  Karen says “I absolutely love this song for the totally shallow reason that Alfie says the f’ word!!! I know its awful to admit but I do. The raw emotion as he swears is amazing. As the wife of a Who fan who was totally bowled over by Alfie’s performance at the RAH I cannot put into words how special it all was.”

Run – Karen’s choice because “it’s a fabulous song with wonderful words but given the Alfie Boe treatment becomes an all time great anthem.”

It’s Only Love – another song that gets me up and dancing every time!  Karen chose it as she “absolutely adored Alfie on the Storyteller Tour. It is as a Rock God that I adore him the most.His performance of the song as he charged from side of the stage to the other, jumping on the speakers in those tight jeans was sublime.”

O Sole Mio / Now or Never at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Karen says “again it shows his versatility as he goes from classic to rock and roll. The highlight for me of the Queens Jubilee. Rocking out in his tight black jeans (I do love him in tight jeans!) and lovely black shirt. Doing what no one expected him to do and bringing the house down in the process. Fantastic!”

Thanks Karen for six very different choices – I love seeing the songs people choose and the reasons why.

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As we come to end of the Summer Together Tour 2017 (just one date left), it’s once more time to indulge ourselves with six of Alfie Boe’s most sensational songs.  This time they are chosen by Anne Norberg, who, like Alfie, is a Lancastrian now resident in the USA.  These are Anne’s choices:

Run, chosen because “the VE Day celebration was the first time for us hearing Alfie sing this and it was so very poignant and moving. I would dearly love him to record this song.”

Forever Young at the US Memorial Day show 2015, chosen because “watching this on TV made my heart burst with pride and I clapped and cried. (I know many of you can relate). I had friends in other States all watching it too so it was something I could share with them. He displayed such presence, and commanded that stage. I love the way it built up slowly to that magnificent climax.”

Don’t Stop Me Now at Gary Barlow’s New Year’s Eve TV special, chosen because “Just WOW! Alfie was having so much fun and the audience were so involved and well, THAT VOICE! Pure energy and fun. Our boy can sing anything! It gives me burst of energy just to re-listen to this every time.”

Who Am I – Anne chose Alfie singing this at the 25th Les Mis concert but as it keeps disappearing due to copyright issues, I’ve chosen this 2011 TV version instead.  Anne’s reason for choosing the original is  “because I love the audience response when they first hear that incredible two, four, six,oh, one!!! And I would just be so excited for him when I was there in person each time!”

A Living Prayer, chosen because “the most amazing, beautiful voice cuts right through to my soul. And now I’m also aware of the purity of his younger voice then compared to the depth and richness it has now. I love both voices.”

Barcelona, with Laura Wright, chosen because it’s “spectacular, and another one of his power songs. He’s said this is a difficult sing and so I love his ability to master anything!”

Thanks Anne for your choices.  A Living Prayer is the most popular choice of your songs, having been chosen three times altogether, with only one song (Forever Young) appearing on the overall list.

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Welcome to the fourth in the occasional series celebrating Six Sensational Songs from Alfie Boe – each post features six songs chosen by a thoughtsofjustafan reader and this time it’s the turn of Sheila Currie.  Sheila first became an Alfie fan after seeing him in Les Mis on PBS and recently saw him in concert in New York, also having the opportunity to wish him well before the concert!  Sheila says about Alfie:

I could pick many more than six songs, certainly. Alfie Boe is someone who will not pass this way again in my lifetime. His voice goes in my ear directly to my heart.

Here we go with Sheila’s songs:

A Living Prayer, also chosen by Betty Valentine, was chosen by Sheila because “this was on the first CD I bought of Alfie’s after his Les Mis performance on PBS. I loved the video especially. He takes this song of Alison Krause to a hymn like quality.”

If I Loved You, from Carousel – this one might be very popular amongst Alfie fans these days!  Sheila says “I sang this song growing up in school choir and it just pulls at my heartstrings.”

Bridge Over Troubled Water was chosen by Sheila as it ” reminded me of my early married life during Vietnam era. I loved it then just as much”.

Forever Young, chosen  because “Alfie’s reworking of this Dylan song to remind us of those who have sacrificed for us was incredible, especially the PBS Memorial Day concert”.

Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna, also chosen by Betty Valentine, was chosen by Sheila  because “this beautiful song reminds me of my voice teacher and her passion for Italian opera”.

Where’er You Walk.  As Sheila says “An old song but I can still sing it as if it was just yesterday.

Thank you Sheila for sharing your six sensational songs with us.

If you would like to see your favourite songs featured here, complete the form below, telling me your six songs and why they are your favourites.  

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