Musicals

Susan Black is a long time fan from Eastern England and these are her Six Sensational Songs.

Nessun Dorma, from Matt Lucas’ kitchen – Susan heard Alfie sing this and has never been the same since!

Run, at Hampton Court Palace, 2017.

Je Crois Entendre Encore at Thetford – apparently, according to Sue, you could “hear a pin drop”.

Bring Him Home – as if you didn’t know!

Dimming of the Day at the Royal Albert Hall with the lovely Emilia Mitiku.

My all time favourite!

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Although 2019 had a quiet start for Alfie, it’s about to get a whole lot busier, with An Evening with Alfie Boe starting in just a few weeks time. And then of course we have the excitement of Les Mis to look forward to. Before we get bowled over with new events, let’s pay a visit to our series of Six Sensational Songs, this time from Emma Cropper and her son, Jamie. Emma hails from Fleetwood and, as she says, “when I heard about this singer from the wood I just had to listen!” These are their songs.

If I can Dream is Emma’s favourite song – the lyrics get Emma every time – and “Alfie sings it better than anyone.”

Emma says that the Storyteller album is one of her favourites and that Bridge Over Troubled Water really helped her at a difficult time.

Blood Brothers is one of Emma’s favourite musicals, so Tell Me It’s Not True has to be in her top six. “It always provokes such memories of the stage show and a great way to escape.”

Emma’s son Jamie also loves Alfie’s music so when Emma asked him which songs he wanted to nominate, he instantly said You’ll Never Walk Alone. Being Liverpool fans, as is Alfie, they know how powerful and important this song is to so many people. 

The Willy Wonka song, otherwise known as Pure Imagination, is Jamie’s other choice of song, because it reminds him of chocolate!

Finally, Emma and Jamie’s joint choice is He Lives In You from The Lion King, because “that was the soundtrack to our Christmas past!”

Another two new songs to add to our list of Six Sensational Songs!

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Exciting times for Les Mis fans as not only will Alfie Boe be starring in the West End concert version later this year, but John Owen-Jones will be sharing the role with him! John remains the youngest actor to play Jean Valjean and most recently, took over from Alfie on Broadway. Speaking since the announcement, John said “It’s been nearly ten years since the last time I played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables in London. I’m really excited to be going back to the role in what will be such a special version of the show. I am also delighted to note that when I appear in this production at the Gielgud Theatre, I shall have appeared as Jean Valjean in every London theatre in which the show has played!” John also featured as part of Club 24601, which took place to mark the thirtieth birthday of Les Mis.

Aptly, John has today released his fifth studio album, Spotlight. The songs are mostly from the world of musical theatre and have clearly been chosen to form a coherent narrative throughout, beginning with From Now On and ending with Goodbye from the Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can and Rocky Horror Show’s I’m Going Home. Choosing some classic songs that join together with newer tracks, the result is sheer class.

Beauty and the Beast’s Evermore is a song that has begun to be recorded by several artists and no wonder; the beautiful melody perfectly suit the range and strength of John’s voice. The last note alone is worth the album price – John says it might be the longest note he’s ever recorded and it surely must be!

The Prayer is a duet made famous by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli but has been sung and recorded by many artists since it’s first appearance. On Spotlight, John duets with fellow Welsh singer, Lucie Jones and the result is magical. Lucie’s lovely voice blends exquisitely with John’s and leaves the listener wanting to hear from them both. Other highlights from the album include I Dreamed a Dream, a version which has been specially arranged to incorporate musical motifs reminiscent of Jean Valjean, rather than Fantine, for whom the Les Mis song is written. It is a very restrained performance and brought to mind the eloquence of John’s Bring Him Home.

Climb Every Mountain has a very dramatic opening, whilst I defy anyone to listen to Raise Me Up without standing up and singing along at the top of their voice! The inclusion of Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades is a surprise but a happy one – the track is nicely understated and as John says, would work in a musical. Ending with a toned down version of I’m Going Home, John first shows us Goodbye, from the short lived musical, Catch Me If You Can, based on the movie of the same name. Upbeat and catchy, t’s a perfect musical theatre song and good to hear something that a lot of the audience might not be familiar with.

Spotlight is available to order here.

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In news sure to electrify fans of both Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, it is today confirmed that both will return to the London stage of Les Miserables – albeit in a fully staged concert version. Scheduled to run for sixteen weeks at the Gielgud theatre from August 10, this solves the conundrum of what to do with the super musical while it’s current home, the Queen’s Theatre, is being refurbished this summer.

Alfie will reprise the role of Jean Valjean, whereas Ball will take the role of Javert – if we weren’t excited before, we are now! This is a super exciting cast announcement, especially given that Matt Lucas will return to play Thenardier and Fantine will be played by West End star Carrie Hope Fletcher. In addition, another wonderful Valjean, John Owen-Jones will be returning for three shows a week.

Earlier today, Alex Bellfield of Celebrity Radio shared a YouTube chat with Alfie:

Tickets will be on sale here from 12 noon Thursday 7 February

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In at number eight in our quest to find your favourite Alfie Boe live song this year is a song that entered the chart in 2018 at number four and is from Together:

St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, June 2018

Alfie has been singing You’ll Never Walk Alone for a long time, and not just because he’s a Liverpool fan! This version in the glorious setting of St. George’s Chapel showcases Alfie’s classically trained voice superbly.

Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in 2017. However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production. Here is Alfie at the VE Day celebrations in 2015:

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This week, we’re looking at Helen Bird’s Six Sensational Songs.  Helen first saw Alfie at the Festival of Remembrance in 2007, a fresh faced young man, singing Bring Him Home.  At the time she just thought nothing of the singer, just that it was an apt song for Remembrance Weekend.  These are Helen’s six songs:

Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Helen says ” I adore this film especially this song”.

I Vow To Thee My Country.  Helen says “This hymn reminds me of the many military church services I attended with my hubby whilst he was serving in the Army. I’ve chosen Linda Wellington’s footage of Alfie accompanied by The Central Band of The Royal British Legion at the First World War Commemorative Concert, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle as this sounds just amazing.”

If I Can Dream from Storyteller.  Helen chose this as everyone has hopes and dreams and this sums it all up.

O Holy Night from Boston Pops’ Sleigh Ride.  Helen says “This is a hymn that will always remind me of my dear departed Mum, albeit I first saw and heard it being sung by Mario Lanza in the film The Great Caruso when we watched films on a Saturday afternoon, usually whilst she did the ironing.”

Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia.   This was the first time that Helen heard this song live, at Alfie and Michael’s outdoor concert at Walcot Hall in Shropshire in July 2017.  This was the second time Helen had seen Alfie live, the first being Birmingham in 2013.

Bring Him Home, Alfie’s signature song.  Helen says “I first heard him sing  this back in 2007. Although I didn’t start appreciating Alfie’s voice until my daughters brought home the DVD of the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables and I sat there transfixed to the TV, listening to the voice we all truly love. I decided to choose the 2007 Festival of Remembrance version because to me it brings to mind the importance of when it was performed and also because of my hubby’s military background. He lost several comrades during his time served and if he went away on exercise, I used to say to myself after he had left the house, bring him home safely.”

Thank you Helen for sharing your six sensational songs with us – three more new songs to add to our list!

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The week of Alfie Boe’s new album release has arrived and there seems no better time to look at another set of Six Sensational Songs, this time from Carole Naden.  Carole’s first choice is:

Of course, Bring Him Home, ‘the’ song that we all associate with Alfie.

Another eternally popular song, and the winner of the Best Live Song poll for the past two years, Run.

Angie, from Storyteller.  This beautiful cover of the Rolling Stones is making it’s first appearance in six sensational songs.

Dimming of the Day, first heard with Emilia Mitiku on the Storyteller tour but recorded for Trust with Shawn Colvin.

Another new song for our list of sensational songs, this is Wagon Wheel from Cardiff 2017, the first time we heard Wagon Wheel and the second time we saw Alfie play guitar.  The last time was five years on the Storyteller tour!

Carole’s sixth choice is Islands in the Stream, another song that debuted at Alfie’s summer concerts this year but I couldn’t find a video with just that, so you get a freebie this time around!

I say this every time sensational songs is published but the depth and breadth of Alfie’s repertoire is such that we have added another three new songs to the Six Sensational Songs playlist! Bring on the next tour!

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As the weather grows ever more Autumnal, it’s another great excuse to stay indoors and watch Alfie on YouTube.  To aid you in this, here is another instalment of Six Sensational Songs and this time, they are from Marie Blair, who first got to know Alfie when he did the Les Mis 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2.

Some Enchanted Evening, chosen by Marie because “…it was the song he sang at STV when I met him for the first time on 28 January 2011. It is from the musical South Pacific. In a recent documentary to celebrate his 70th birthday, Andrew Lloyd Webber said that it is the greatest song ever written for a musical.”

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Marie says “I met Alfie for the second time in September 2011 in Dundee at the Last Night of the Proms. He sang The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. It was and remains the best live performance he has done of that song in my opinion. I think it is mesmerising. It is such a beautiful love song.” Sorry I couldn’t find video of the right performance Marie!

Run, by now needing no introduction.  Marie’s reasons for choosing this are that “I think the performance at VE Day was just wonderful. I often watch it on YouTube and I love the way he acknowledges Murray on stage. I loved Leona Lewis’s version of this song but prefer Alfie’s. I really hope he records it.” And so say all of us, regarding the recording Marie!

The official video for If You Go Away, from Trust.  Marie loves this song and also the video, having watched it loads of times – I’m sure you’re not alone in that!

Billy Joel’s Always a Woman to Me was a bonus track on Storyteller – and is kindly shared here by Marcia, along with photos of Alfie and Sarah.*

Marie says “My sixth choice, Parlami D’Amore Mariu, was written in 1932 for the singer Vittorio de Sica and means Tell Me About Love Mariu. It is exquisitely sung by Alfie and remains one of my favourites. I do wish Alfie would sing more Italian songs and opera arias in particular.”  Knowing Alfie’s views on music and his wide ranging repertoire, I wouldn’t be surprised if this again happens in the future.

Thanks Marie for sharing your songs with us – two new ones added to the list!

If you would like to choose and share your six songs with us, please fill in the form:

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We’ve made it! The top place in the fifth annual Alfie Boe Best Ever Song poll is shortly to be revealed, but before we do that, let’s run down the top ten so far:

10 – A Living Prayer

9 – Rank Strangers

8 – You’re The Voice

7 – Keep Me In Your Heart

6 – A Thousand Years

5 – The Prayer

4 – Love Reign O’er Me

3 – Bring Him Home

2 – First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

And so, the song voted in at number ten is:

Anthem, recorded for Alfie’s 2016 album with Michael Ball, Together, is this year’s top song, the last of four songs from Together and Together Again.  Last year, Anthem was a new entry to the chart, ending up at number six.

Anthem is one of the most famous songs (although for me, I have more of an affection for the Elaine Paige / Barbara Dickson song I Know Him So Well) from the Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus musical, Chess, which opened in London in 1986 before closing three years later.  A subsequent Broadway production was much less successful.  Prior to either show, a concept album was released, from which Paige and Dickson’s recording derives as Dickson was unable to open in the London production.

Thanks for all your votes – always interesting to see what comes up trumps – and as Alfie has now announced his 2019 tour, it’ll soon be time to vote for our favourite live song again!

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Almost time for the new album – who’s getting excited about As Time Goes By?  I imagine one or two of the songs will feature in the list of Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Song 2019 but before we get to that, here is another one in the occasional series of our Six Sensational Songs.  This time it’s the turn of Betty May to tell us her choices.

Dimming of the Day, from Trust – with a great Tom Jones anecdote at the beginning of this clip from Cardiff.

Bring Him Home, this time from Fleetwood, bringing the number of times this song has featured in this series to ten.

The ever popular live song, Run.

A throwback to La Passione with Parlami D’Amore Mariu at Leeds 2015 – note the short hair in preparation for Les Mis on Broadway!

Come What May with West End star Kerry Ellis.

Tell Me It’s Not True, from Blood Brothers – all the way back in 2012!

Thanks Betty for sharing your six songs with us.

If you would like to see your favourite Alfie songs featured here, please fill in the form:

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