Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Andrew Lloyd-Weber

Memory

First recorded by Elaine Paige (UK #6 1981).
Similar to “Bolero in Blue” by Larry Clinton (1940).
Other hit versions by Barbra Streisand (US #52/MOR #9/UK #34 1982), Barry Manilow (US #39/MOR #8 1982), Elaine Paige rerecording (UK #36 1998).

From the wiki: “‘Memory’, often incorrectly called ‘Memories’, is a show tune from the 1981 musical Cats. Its writers, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cats director Trevor Nunn, received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. (Prior to its inclusion in Cats, the tune was earmarked for earlier Lloyd Webber projects, including a ballad for Perón in Evita, and as a song for Max in his original 1970s draft of Sunset Boulevard.)

“The lyric was based on T. S. Eliot’s poems ‘Preludes’ and ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’. Composer Lloyd Webber feared that the tune sounded too similar to Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ and to a work by Puccini, and also that the opening – the haunting main theme – closely resembled the flute solo (improvised by Bud Shank in the studio) from The Mamas & the Papas’ 1965 song ‘California Dreamin””. He asked his father’s opinion; according to Lloyd Webber, his father responded ‘It sounds like a million dollars!’ While Lloyd Webber does acknowledge Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, there is no mention of similarity to ‘Bolero in Blue’ written by Larry Clinton, replicating note-for-note the first several measures from Clinton’s composition.

Herod’s Song (from “Jesus Christ Superstar”)

First recorded (as “Try It and See”) by Rita Pavone (1969).
Album hit version by Mike D’Abo (from Jesus Christ Superstar) (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Try It and See’ was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as their entry to represent England in the 1969 Eurovision Song contest. Instead, the original song ended up as the only English-spoken track on Pavone’s Italian album, Rita. Lloyd Webber and Rice would rework the song and include it in their magna opus recording production Jesus Christ Superstar.

I Don’t Know How to Love Him

First recorded by Yvonne Elliman (US #28/UK #47 1970).
Other hit version by Helen Reddy (US #13/CAN #8/AUS #2 1971).

From the wiki: “‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice song for the 1970 Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The song has been much recorded with it becoming one of only a handful of songs to have two concurrent recordings simultaneously reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ had first been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, originally titled ‘Kansas Morning’. (The melody’s main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, bearing a resemblance to a theme from Mendelssohn’s ‘Violin Concerto in E Minor’.) Rice wrote new lyrics to ‘Kansas Morning’ when Lloyd Webber and he completed Jesus Christ Superstar in January 1970. Now, entitled ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, the completed song was recorded at a June 1970 Decca Records recording session by Yvonne Elliman in one take.

All I Ask of You

Originally recorded by Sarah Brightman & Cliff Richard (UK #3 1986).
US hit version by Barbra Streisand (US #15 1988).

From the wiki: “‘All I Ask of You’ is a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of The Phantom of the Opera.

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