Best Ever Song

All posts tagged Best Ever Song

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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Just one week until we unveil the top spot in the fifth Alfie Best Best Ever Song poll and in at number two is a song that was once part of Alfie’s live set on a regular basis but has since made way for his more recent material.  The song has only once entered the top ten, at number five in 2016 and is First Time Ever I Saw Your Face:

The song was written by folk singer songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger before they were married although the song only became world famous when Roberta Flack’s version was used in the Clint Eastwood film, Play Misty For Me.

In a recent interview, Seeger retold the story of how the song came into being:

I told him [Euan MacColl] that I was doing a radio show and they wanted a love song and they would prefer a new one…He said, “how about this” and sang The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

In the years since, there have been many, many cover versions, (all of them hated, at least those recorded before 1989, apparently by MacColl) but my favourite is George Michael’s version. Somewhat controversially, I once made an admission that I prefer George’s version to Alfie! It’s still the case I’m afraid, especially now that George is no longer with us.

It’s rare that I find another artist’s version better than Alfie’s version but with this song, George’s phrasing edges it for me.  Certainly, it’s the best track on George’s album Songs from the Last Century.  Interestingly, in a long ago radio interview, Alfie picked George Michael as having a great voice and could have been even better if he’d gone down the route of vocal training.

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After the nominations closed for the 5th annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song (recorded) last week, I’m pleased to say that the poll is now open for votes once more!

Thanks to those who sent in their nominations – we have five new additions this year!

Bridge Over Troubled Water – nominated by Brenda Licence

You’re The Voice – Gill Jansingh

You’ll Be Back – Pauline Merrick

A Thousand Years – Karen Blower

He Lives In You – Ann Quelch

I originally started this poll to highlight the depth of Alfie’s repertoire and we have songs from all his albums to date, so we have more than accomplished this.  Whenever I talk about Alfie to non fans (yes, there are such people!), the song they always mention is Bring Him Home, twice the winner of this poll.  While it is the song for which he is always known, wouldn’t it be great for something new to top this year’s vote?

Voting will remain open until the end of this week and then the first song of the top ten will be revealed the week after – get voting!

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Although the summer is drawing to a close, don’t worry, because that means that it’s a little bit closer to the release of Alfie Boe’s eagerly anticipated solo album.  Set to be released in November, it’s something that Alfie fans have been looking forward to for a while now.

Before then, there’s the small matter of the now annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll, now in it’s fifth year.  We have another album, Together Again, to include in our favourites so let’s see if anything can knock Bring Him Home off it’s pedestal – newer fans, it’s not always been at the top of the poll!  How about this one for example – it was very popular at the Oxford Street HMV album signing last year!

The time has come for your nominations please – the longlist can be found on Spotify so click here to listen.  If you don’t find your favourite here, please fill in the form below:

Nominations will close on 30 August and voting will open the following week.

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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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We’ve done it, we’ve counted down to the 2017 Best Ever Alfie Boe song so let’s take a look at the top ten so far:

10 – Parlami D’amore Mariu

9 – In My Daughter’s Eyes

8 – Wheels of a Dream

7 – Forever Young

6 – Anthem

5 – Addio Sogni Di Gloria

4 – Keep Me In Your Heart

3 – Love Reign O’er Me

2 – Rank Strangers

And so that leaves only one song at the top and it’s no surprise that after two years at number four, Bring Him Home returns to the top:

This was the first time I heard Alfie sing Bring Him Home live.

Bring Him Home, is without question Alfie’s most popular and famous song.  The vast majority of fans who have come to know Alfie since 2010 (myself included) have done so through Les Miserables, Jean Val Jean and Bring Him Home – Alfie’s star really was born at the 25th anniversary concert.  Everything that has come since started on that day and ensures that Alfie will continue to sing Bring Him Home for as long as the demand is there…forever!  Of course the problem with this is I find it really difficult to write anything at all about Bring Him Home.   So, instead of my thoughts, let’s go back to what Alfie said about it in his autobiography:

It is such a spiritual song, it’s so special.  When Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil wrote it they must have been so excited…It is a prayer, it’s actually called The Prayer, it’s not officially called Bring Him Home and I treat it as such every time I sing it.  I pray.  That’s what makes it work.

Interestingly, when I interviewed Alfie for the Club 24601 series in 2015, although he mentioned Bring Him Home as being a great song, he actually picked the Soliloquy as the song with the greatest emotional and vocal range.

Thank you for sending in your suggestions and voting – I love seeing the different songs that make it into the top ten each year.  Enjoy the summer concerts – click here if you haven’t yet got a ticket.

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Just two songs left on this year’s Best Ever Alfie Boe Song countdown which means that there’s less than two weeks until Alfie starts his Summer Together tour with Michael Ball.  If you haven’t got tickets yet, click here.  I’m once again looking for guest reviewers so make sure you read to the end!

Song number two is a song that has featured twice before, in 2014 and 2015 and is this year’s only representative from Storyteller.  Rank Strangers is an American folk song from the early twentieth century which Alfie first sang on his Bring Him Home tour of 2012 and then recorded for Storyteller that same year.  Here is Alfie’s acoustic version from the Storyteller tour:

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:

Alfie, I hope you know that this is true dedication on my part, to feature, yet again, Bob Dylan’s vocals on this blog!

Stay tuned next week for the reveal of the fans’ Favourite Song 2017!

With the summer tour so close, I’m looking for guest reviewers again – I need reviewers for all the shows except Greenwich so if you want to have a go, send a sample of a short review of either a concert or album via this form:

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Song number three is last year’s number one, Love Reign O’er Me from Classic Quadrophenia (CQ):

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 was one of the best musical experiences of my life.  Quite simply took my breath away.

The song was originally performed by Roger Daltrey but here is Pete Townshend at Symfunny 2 last month:

Anyone who gets the chance to hear Alfie sing CQ in its entirety should grab it with both hands – he is absolutely sublime in the role.  As and when those chances become available, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Classic Quadrophenia is available here:

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With just over a week since Alfie Boe ended his acclaimed run in Carousel, fans could be forgiven for being  a bit lost; however, the arrival of number four in our Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll means that we’re only a few short weeks away from seeing Alfie performing in the summer Together tour. Of course, if you’re a US based fan and can get to New York City tomorrow evening you could see Alfie (and Michael Ball) very soon – click here to buy tickets – you know you want to!

Song number four in our countdown is one that occupies a very special place in my heart – and many of yours too it seems – and means that I will forever be associated with buttons on blouses!  Dipping out of the top ten last year, Keep Me In Your Heart made it’s debut at number two in the 2015  poll.

This is of course Alfie’s version of Warren Zevon’s 2003 song and you can find out more about the original here, as well as seeing the fan video that Alfie made.  Alfie has performed Keep Me In Your Heart at many concerts since it was released and usually incorporates an audience singalong; rarely, aside from the Huawei Winter concert in December 2014, does he perform the song ‘straight’.  An exception was the last night of the Together tour:

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We have arrived at the half way stage of the fourth annual Alfie Boe best ever song poll and number five is a song that, having reached the top of this poll in 2015, missed the top ten altogether last year.  I’m of course talking about Addio Sogni Di Gloria:

From the 2015 album, Serenata, this song showcases Alfie’s glorious voice to perfection – one day I hope to hear him sing it again.

The song was originally recorded by Italian singer Luciano Virgili and written by Italian Carlo Innocenzi who wrote music for many Italian films from the 1940’s onward.  Translated, the title means Goodbye, Dreams of Glory and the poignancy of the song sits effortlessly against the glorious soaring melody.  The version I’ve chosen is by Giuseppe Di Stefano, whom Alfie has referenced as being a favourite of his in several interviews.  Not having listened to Di Stefano before I heard Alfie talk about him, I’ve now listened to a fair amount of his work and I have to agree with Alfie – Di Stefano has a wonderful voice:

Serenata is available here:

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