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Articles Tagged 'Great British Songbook'

The Great British Songbook #11: ‘Real Love’

If you imagine the Great British Songbook as a collection of of precious jewels scattered on a kitchen floor, which need to be gathered up and, y’know, put in a jewellery box or a safe or something, the songs of the Beatles will naturally be among the biggest, and therefore the first to be picked […]

The Great British Songbook #10: ‘The Lovecats’

I went to school in the ’80s. It was a time of polarisation, of tribalism, of ganging up and lashing out. You had the people in government, the socially mobile, moneyed lower middle class and the decimated working class communities, working in manufacturing industries that were constantly under threat, and everyone bickered about everyone else. […]

The Great British Songbook #9: ‘Teardrop’

It starts with a simple thought of arresting clarity, especially coming from a singer whose recorded career had largely been spent singing in a made-up language. Elizabeth Fraser, of the Cocteau Twins, coos a delicate “love, love is a verb. Love is a doing word” over a heartbeat bass drum. And the world suddenly spins […]

The Great British Songbook #8: ‘Common People’

I don’t know much about the personal circumstances into which William Shatner was born. I’m not aware if he was raised on a dirt-poor farm or carried around by servants in a penthouse suite at the top of the only invisible skyscraper in Manhattan. I’m fairly sure he didn’t study sculpture and St Martin’s College […]

The Great British Songbook #7: ‘Fool’s Gold’

Songwriters are not the only musicians to see their work appreciated and appropriated by other musicians. What about the groovemakers? The funketeers? When compiling a list of the greatest British contributions to the art of popular song, we have to make some space for the people whose names don’t always get to appear in the […]

The Great British Songbook #6: Shakespeare Goes Pop

A slight deviation from our usual format this week. We won’t be examining American cover versions of British songs, not when we have a proud and patriotic duty to perform. As you may know, 2012 is not only the year London plays host to the Olympic Games, it’s also the year in which our Queen […]

The Great British Songbook #5: ‘Rent’

Whenever a hoary old rock star decides to cover a bunch of old Cole Porter tunes, in evening dress with the bow tie undone, there’s an element of self-gentrification going on. “I’m not just the bloke who sang the song about being sexy,” they’re saying, with a roguish waggle of the eyebrows, “I’m also ready […]

The Great British Songbook #4: ‘Thriller’

What? Why the shocked face? If we’re pulling together a selection of the most influential, biggest British-written songs of all time, at some point we are going to have to acknowledge that the title track of the biggest-selling album of all time was written by a British man. The disco Cole Porter himself, Rod Temperton, […]

The Great British Songbook #3: ‘Rehab’

Some songs are classics from the first moment, the first line. They arrive, mess with your mind, demand your full attention and leave insisting that you play them again right away. The kind of song that can transform a singer from well-respected journeyman into global icon before the final cha-cha-cha. The kind of song you […]

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