George Michael

All posts tagged George Michael

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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Amidst the joy and love of Christmas, I was completely knocked sideways by the news on the evening of Christmas Day that my first musical love, George Michael, had died.  Along with half the rest of the country, if not the world, George had been around in my musical life since I was nine years old; his was the first album I ever bought (Wham!) and I still love dancing to it now.  He sang “you put the boom boom into my heart” and it’s still there to this day – whenever I hear that song I just have to get up and dance, it’s pure magic.

George and Wham! are also responsible for the best ever Christmas song in Last Christmas – of course there are other great Christmas songs but none are as special to me as this one.  Next year of course that song will be bittersweet for us all.

After the split from Andrew Ridgeley, George’s musical career reached new heights and despite doubts about whether or not I would like the new music, I found myself loving everything.  Faith is a perfect pop song and in the title alone, encapsulates what is it that keeps the fans following – “you gotta have faith”.

I kept faith with George and bought every album he made since then.  As George matured, so did the music and so did I.  Each new musical offering was different and showed a different side to George and I’m happy to say that I never grew tired of finding new things to love.  I never managed to see him live which is a source of regret and even though it looked increasingly unlikely that I ever would see him perform live, I never really thought that it wouldn’t happen until now.  There are so many songs that I love but one he has in common with Alfie is First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and in a recent blog post I said that I preferred George’s version – not all of you agreed with me!  Another favourite is Amazing…because he was!

Although this is an incredibly sad post to write, (it’s the first time writing this blog has brought me to tears) it is bringing happiness as well in that I’m once again revisiting the fabulous music of my first musical love.  Needless to say, although George was never far from my thoughts and iPod, in recent years, Alfie and his music have somewhat taken over!  In these sad times, I’m happy to redress the balance in George’s favour a little bit. George, you have been SO loved.

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We’ve reached the half way point of our count down which means it’s only five weeks until the Ball and Boe Together tour starts!  The song at number five is a song that has been on the long list since the beginning but has only now made it to the top ten.  I’m talking about The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face:

Thanks to Annie for sharing this from Blackpool on the Storyteller tour.  Why has the song just now been voted into the top ten?  Not sure if I’m honest!  Perhaps that as we’re now revisiting Alfie’s repertoire for the third time, songs that have been previously overlooked are now been reappraised.  Alfie has sung this song live on countless occasions, right from the Bring Him Home tour, both American tours and Storyteller so this might be another reason as to why it has now appeared in the top ten.

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 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.  I may be biased in my choice as (before Alfie, yes there was such a thing). George Michael was my absolute favourite artist.

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.

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is from the 2011 album, Alfie and is available here:

Alfie (alfie) album

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