Top Ten

All posts tagged Top Ten

We’ve made it to the top three of the second annual Alfie Boe Best Ever Song poll and if you’ve been following this far, it’s safe to say that the major shock came last week with the news that Alfie’s best known dropped down to number four from top of the heap last year.  Yes, Bring Him Home no longer reigns.  So, which will be the top?

Before we get there, number three is the second offering from Onward, A Gaelic Blessing.  Written by renowned British composer, John Rutter, in 1978 as a commission from an American Methodist church, the piece is often used as part of hatched, matched and despatched ceremonies as well as being sung by choirs all over the world.  The video features Aled Jones before Alfie’s version:

Interestingly, despite composing almost exclusively religious music, John Rutter describes himself as an “agnostic supporter of the Christian church”.

Number two is something completely different, being from Alfie’s 2013 Trust album.  Keep Me In Your Heart is the highest non-classical sounding song in the top ten and is one of my all time favourites (it’s the buttons on your blouse that does it for me) and I’m obviously in good company!

The song was written by US musician and songwriter, Warren Zevon in response to receiving a terminal diagnosis of asbestos related cancer although it was the last song to be recorded for 2003’s The Wind, Zevon’s final album.  Zevon survived the album release by only a few weeks although he did manage to see it achieve a top 20 chart position, his highest position since his critically acclaimed earlier album, Excitable Boy.

Love this song but the original doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid – the buttons on my blouse are quite safe!  Now for Alfie’s version:

Adore this video with lots of my friends in – are you in there?  Let us know!

So we come to the final position, which is you’ve been following avidly, you will know goes to a Serenata song, Addio Sogni Di Gloria.  To my knowledge, he’s only sung this live once and I was one of the lucky ones there at the time.  Classic FM Live was the occasion and we were also lucky enough to grab a few minutes at the stage door that evening.

All I can say is that the recording does not do it justice – absolutely blew us all away.

The song was originally recorded by Italian singer Luciano Virgili and written by Italian Carlo Innocenzi who write 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.

Thank you for accompanying me on this musical journey of discovery and thank you for choosing a song from Serenata as your 2015 Best Ever Alfie Boe Song – it will be interesting to see if Serenata remains on top in 2016!

Onward, Trust and Serenata are all available here:

Alfie onward

serenata

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Last week saw the publication of the top ten in the second annual poll to find the best ever Alfie Boe song and we are now counting down, this week arriving at numbers six to four.  Click here to see numbers ten to seven.

Number six is an old staple of Alfie’s operatic repertoire and one that he began singing again on his 2014 UK Winter tour, much to the surprise and delight of most of the fans.  Yes, I’m talking about Nessun Dorma, one of the most famous tenor arias out there and one which seeped into popular culture like no other aria following the 1990 World Cup (if you have to ask which sport, you’re obviously not from these parts!).  Alfie has named Giuseppe di Stefano as one of his favourite tenors to listen to, so I picked his version to show you:

The popular version is of course by Luciano Pavarotti but everyone who is anyone has performed the song which comes from Puccini’s 1924 opera Turandot.  The aria is sung by Calaf (the unknown prince)  who falls in love with Princess Turandot.  If he wishes to marry her, Calaf must answer three riddles correctly or face execution.  He does so but as Turandot is still not keen on marriage, he gives her a reprieve; guess his name before dawn and she can execute him, fail and she has to marry him.  Turandot then decrees that ‘no one shall sleep’ that night until they discover the name.  Reading this again, is it any wonder that quite a number of people have problems with operatic plots?!  I confess that despite loving Alfie’s version, Nessun Dorma is not my favourite operatic aria but this video will brighten up any day:

Number five in the countdown is the third survivor from the 2014 poll and the first from Onward.  Click here to find out more about A Living Prayer.

Having seen numbers five and six, that brings us to the biggest shock of the 2015 vote…number four is last year’s number one, Bring Him Home!  Be honest, how many of you saw that coming?  Not only is it not number one, it’s not even in the top three!  For me, this is good news as it means that many more fans are getting to know and appreciate the vast depth of Alfie’s recorded repertoire.  As wonderful as Alfie’s Bring Him Home is, and it will always be his signature tune, there are so many more choices available, many of which do a better job of showcasing his voice.  Click here to check them out.   Likewise, as fabulous as it always is to hear Alfie on the radio, show presenters and producers should make the effort to play more than just the obvious.

And so now you’ve got over the big surprise, who will be number one?  The top three are Addio Sogni Di Gloria, Keep Me In Your Heart and A Gaelic Blessing – the correct order will be revealed next week!

Bring Him Home is available here.

 

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So what did you think of the all new top ten in the Alfie Boe Best Ever Song poll? Any surprises?  Did your favourite make the cut?  Don’t worry if not – I’m already planning the third annual poll!

Now, down to business.  The song in at number 10 is Je Crois Entendre Encore which made it to number 4 in 2014: click here to read more.

Number 9 is the first of our two entries from Trust, Forever Young.  Written and recorded by Bob Dylan for his 1974 album, Planet Waves, it has been recorded and performed by countless others down the years; my favourite version is that by Joan Baez:

Alfie is a Dylan fan, so much so that he bunked off Cosi Fan Tutte rehearsals in Strasbourg in order to take Sarah to a concert.  That being so, and only for Alfie would I do this, here is Bob Dylan singing:

Sorry Alfie, I know Dylan’s a genius but I just can’t listen to him sing!  Much prefer your version, sung at the Royal Festival Hall in 2013.  I’ll let Alfie tell you the story about the recording:

Number 8 in the top ten is another survivor from 2014 and the only representative from Storyteller, Rank Strangers.  Click here to read more about this lovely song before we move swiftly on to number 7 in our countdown.

Number 7 is in fact the first song from Serenata to feature and Alfie’s first song as a lyricist.  My Heart is Yours puts Alfie’s beautiful lyrics (I think we can all agree that he’s a talented lyricist which can only bode well for the future) to the music from the Italian film Il Postino and the result is this magic:

In the many interviews Alfie gave around the release of Serenata, he said that the lyrics were for his daughter, Grace but the lyrics work just as a well as a love song.

The next instalment in the countdown will be next week!

Trust (click here) and Serenata are both available here:

 

serenata

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The poll has now closed but I can now reveal the top ten in the second annual Alfie Boe Best Ever Song vote! As you can see, the results are very different from last year:

  • You Are My Heart’s Delight
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • Parlami D’Amore Mariu
  • Bring Him Home
  • A Living Prayer
  • Rosie
  • If You Go Away
  • Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna
  • Rank Strangers
  • Je Crois Entendre Encore

And no, it’s not in the right order!

In 2014, the top ten looked like this:

 

  1. Bring Him Home
  2. A Living Prayer
  3. Rank Strangers
  4. Je Crois Entendre Encore
  5. Wayfaring Stranger
  6. Parlami D’Amore Mariu
  7. Rosie
  8. If You Go Away
  9. Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna
  10. You Are My Heart’s Delight

Of this original top ten, only four songs survive and they happen to be the top four – but will they be the top four this time?  You’ll have to wait and see…we’ll be counting down from Friday.

Looking at the albums represented this year, the make up has significantly changed from 2014; then, all the albums bar one had a song in the top ten but this year, only six of his nine albums have an entry.  Serenata, Trust, Onward and Classic FM Presents all have two top ten entries whilst Bring Him Home and Storyteller have one each.  Trust, named as the most owned Alfie album in an earlier poll, had two songs in 2014 as well but they aren’t the same as this year! Once again, classical and rock Alfie are showing as the most popular genres with Bring Him Home remaining the only musical theatre selection on the list.

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Last night saw the publication of the final two places in the Alfie Boe Best Ever Song poll and it came as no surprise to anyone, I’m sure, when the Number One spot went to Bring Him Home.

So, before we see what Alfie has in store for us at Classic FM Live, let’s have a run down of the entire top ten:

10: You Are My Hearts Delight

9:   Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna

8:  If You Go Away

7:  Rosie

6:  Parlami D’Amore Mariu

5:  Wayfaring Stranger

4:  Je Crois Entendre Encore

3:  Rank Strangers

2:  A Living Prayer

1:  Bring Him Home

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Alfie Boe’s Guide to Romance and The Fans Choice of Operatic Role

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So, we have finally reached the end – numbers 1 and 2 of Alfie Boe’s Top Ten Best Ever Songs.  Now, when I first conceived the idea of a poll to find fans favourite Alfie song, I admit I was keen to see the list.  Little did I think that the long list (click here for the playlist on Spotify) would run to 36 songs and over 2 hours!  The songs chosen were from all of Alfie’s albums but the results of the Top Ten vote were a little surprising – most fans say they love Alfie’s classical side but that is not reflected here.

I can also admit that I was hoping that fans everywhere would be reminded that Alfie’s recorded repertoire is very diverse and is not just about Bring Him Home! Having said that, I can now reveal that the number 2 song is…A Living Prayer, which leaves the top spot taken by, you guessed it, Bring Him Home!

Leaving aside BHH (for the moment) let’s talk about A Living Prayer.  Recorded for the Onward album, I was surprised to see it in the top ten at all and even more surprised to see it come in at number 2 behind Alfie’s most well known song.  Many voters gave a reason for nominating and voting for this song and a common thread through all the stories was the soaring melody and beauty of Alfie’s voice helping them through a tough time.  Written and recorded by Alison Krauss in 1994, here is Alfie’s version (it’s also a video featuring Alfie looking most like Dec Donnelly!):

And so we come to Bring Him Home, 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.  So forever basically!

There are so many videos of Alfie singing this song that I was at a loss to pick one – hope the one I went for is ok! I chose it as I was there that night, as were a lot of you, and many fans I am proud to call friends can be seen there:

If you don’t yet have Onward or Bring Him Home, just click on the images to order from Amazon.

Alfie onward

Alfie’s new album, Serenata can also be ordered from Amazon:

serenata

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