Tiny Dancer
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
2w ago
Elton John's slow burner is now one of his most beloved tracks. Released in 1971 during a prolific period for Elton and Bernie Taupin, many people see themselves in the lyrics. Eliza Hewitt grew up in a strict household in Pennsylvania. During the tumultuous early 70s, her brother introduced her to the music of Elton John, and she's still a tiny dancer in her late 60s. Lee Hall wrote the screenplay for Rocketman, the Elton John biopic. He sees the song as a conversation between Elton and Bernie. Podcaster Kirk Hamilton takes us through the song's slow build to a chorus which feels as though it ..read more
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I Can See Clearly Now
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
3w ago
"I can see clearly now the rain is gone / I can see all obstacles in my way / Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind / It's gonna be a bright / Bright sunshiny day" I Can See Clearly Now was written by the Houston-born singer-songwriter Johnny Nash. First released in 1972, it became a huge hit and the song has been covered by hundreds of artists, from the Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff to the Irish rock group Hothouse Flowers. For recording engineer and producer Luke DeLalio the original of the song is 'a masterpiece', with a sublime vocal performance and an arrangement that is surprisingly e ..read more
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Someone to Watch Over Me
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
Written by George Gershwin for the musical Oh Kay, Someone To Watch Over Me has endured as a tender ballad about searching for someone special. It has been recorded by many different artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Willie Nelson but it's perhaps Ella's version that is best known. Lyn Mackay grew up listening to it as a small child at her parents' home in Swansea. As she grew up and became a musician and entertainer the song has changed its meaning to her over the years. Nica Strunk heard her father singing it during one of their sessions at his piano. As he sang the line "where is the shepherd ..read more
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Sweet Thing
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
Sweet Thing by Van Morrison has an atmosphere full of tenderness, wonder and joy. But underneath this there a feeling of transience, a melancholy sense of things coming to an end, and of inevitable change. It was written for his 1968 album Astral Weeks, at a time when the Northern Irish born Van had left his home country and was down-and-out in Boston, USA. We hear how the track has come to mean so much to so many. Caroline Mellor from Brighton remembers an intense moment of hearing Sweet Thing whilst staying in the mountains of AndalucĂ­a, Spain. Sammy Douglas, Councillor and current High Sher ..read more
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Introducing Legend: The Joni Mitchell Story
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
5M ago
Joni Mitchell’s songs have soundtracked our lives and her pioneering work changed music forever. Jesca Hoop explores her extraordinary story to reveal the life behind the legend. In the first episode, we hear how young Joni loves to watch the trains go by from the window of her house in a Saskatchewan prairie town. Even as a child, there is a desire to see what's around the next bend. She's a tomboy and an athlete, until polio forces her into a period of convalescence; she's no longer picked first for sports teams but when she gets the use of her legs back she rock 'n' roll dances her way thro ..read more
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Songs My Mother Taught Me
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
6M ago
Antonin Dvorak wrote his Gypsy Songs in 1880. He was passionate about the folk music of his native Bohemia and set a poem by Czech poet Adolf Heyduk to music. Songs My Mother Taught Me is the fourth song in the cycle. Songs my Mother taught me In the days long vanished Seldom from her eyelids Were the teardrops banished.... It's a wistful melancholic piece evoking memory and loss. Soul Music hears the stories of musicians, poets and singers from around the world of why they are so drawn to it. The poet Raine Geoghegan is the daughter of a Romany woman whose life was weighed down with the loss ..read more
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Fire and Rain
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
7M ago
James Taylor's song of suicide, loneliness and addiction somehow remains hopeful and uplifting, even as people experience their own dark times. Holly Sinclair was driving through a Missouri winter to see her brother, in hospital after a suicide attempt, when the song came on the radio. Michael Granberry, arts writer for the Dallas Morning News, is also a huge James Taylor fan. He's the same age as Taylor, and reflects on the context of assassinations and war raging in America when he wrote Fire and Rain. Peter Asher was James Taylor's manager and producer, and remembers their first meeting, an ..read more
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Pata Pata
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
7M ago
Miriam Makeba recorded 'Pata Pata' in 1967 with the help of American producer Jerry Ragovoy. It became a huge hit and Miriam Makeba used newfound fame to speak the injustices of apartheid. Her records were banned and South Africa and she was forced to live in exile. Here, people from around the world share their stories about what this iconic track means to them. Actor John Kani grew up in Johannesburg remembers dancing to the song when it came on the radio and says that Miriam Makeba became an inspiration for how art could bring about change. He would meet her years later after a concert in N ..read more
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Defying Gravity from Wicked
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
7M ago
Wicked the musical is 20 years old in 2023. The story of the Wizard of Oz told from the witches' perspective examines themes of difference, power and alienation. The so called Wicked Witch of the West Elphaba born with green skin experiences the pain of growing up different and of longing for acceptance. No surprise then that anybody who has ever felt marginalised or that they don't fit in is drawn to her story. Defying Gravity is Elphaba's war-cry at the end of Act One as she bravely decides to forge her own path in life - to "close her eyes and leap". The song has become a powerful anthem fo ..read more
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I Will Always Love You
Soul Music
by BBC Radio 4
7M ago
Written by Dolly Parton... sent stratospheric by Whitney Houston; I Will Always Love You is a song that has a worldwide fanbase reflected by the diverse memories shared here: Nagham Kewifati tells how her mother, Mayada Bseliss, had a huge hit in Syria with an Arabic version. It was produced by Nagham's father, Mayada's husband, Samir. Dr. Marie Thompson of the Open University, who co-wrote a short course entirely about Dolly Parton, reveals the unlikely story behind the song and why Elvis Presley was refused permission to record his own version. Member of Parliament, Jim Shannon, explains why ..read more
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