Number 8 in the poll is Alfie’s version of the Jacques Brel classic, If You Go Away, or Ne Me Quitte Pas as it was originally. Recorded in 1959, it has since been translated into English and recorded by a number of artists such as Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. I listened to all these versions and to be honest, they did nothing for me. Some were downright awful but I suppose that’s just my taste and fans of these artists would say I was biased towards Alfie. To which I would unequivocally say “yes, I am” – his version is superb!
Alfie sang If You Go Away at the Royal Festival Hall in December 2013, thanks to Linda Wellington for sharing:
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So glad this made it to the top ten. Hope it is on the set list for the tour later this year. This is a perfect example of when Alfie talks about how the use of amplification (with his opera background) can allow much greater subtlety and nuance in performing. At times he is close to a whisper. And it is beautiful. There is such emotion in Alfie’s performances. And that is why he creates such emotion among those who hear him.
I am a huge fan of Jacques Brel , Charles Aznavour and all those French songs from that time period. They are incredibly romantic songs and I guess that is the appeal of Alfie’s version. Who wouldn’t want him singing this song to them! Having said that, this song is just ok for me. It’s not really his type of song-he’s too good a singer for it-you need a bit of growl, a bit of the singer/talker which is the style of the song. I am surprised it is even in the top 10.
As an aside, did you know that Charles Aznavour’s most famous song “She”was written by Herbert Kreztmer who wrote the English lyrics to Les Miz?