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Memories, Some Stay Forever.

July 14, 2009 | | Comments 0

Without a doubt one of the best musicals ever written and performed. I saw “Cats-the Musical” originally in Chicago in the 1980′s (it is still playing there today). Later the touring company came to Detroit on a number of occasions. I literally cannot count the number of times I have seen “Cats” in person over the years. Of course I also have the DVD.

Many people have played the role of Grizabella or recorded the song “Memory”, but none as great as the original by Elaine Paige. (Note: Barbra Streisand from 1981 is a close second).

When one has reached what they feel is the lowest point in their life, and suffered some immeasurable losses, it takes on a special meaning. But, that’s a story for another time and place……..These so called “Discarded Lyrics” are truly profound and profess some of  my own sentiments.

Courtesy of Wikipedia;

“Memory” is a show tune from the 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats sung by the character Grizabella, a one-time glamour cat who is now a shell of her former self. The song is a nostalgic remembrance of her glorious past and a declaration of her wishes to start a new life. Sung briefly in the first act and in full near the end of the show, “Memory” is the climax of the musical, and by far its most popular and well-known song.

The lyrics, written by Cats director Trevor Nunn, were based on T. S. Eliot’s poems “Preludes” and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night”. Lloyd Webber’s former writing partner, Tim Rice and then-current collaborator Don Black submitted lyrics to the show’s producers for consideration, however, Nunn’s version was favoured.

Lloyd Webber, fearing that the tune sounded too similar to a work of Puccini, asked his father’s opinion. According to Lloyd Webber, his father responded, “It sounds like a million dollars!”

Prior to its inclusion in Cats, the tune was ear-marked 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.

In its original orchestration, the song’s climax is in the key of D-flat major, the composer’s favorite.

The arrangement of the lyrics in the show were changed after the initial recordings of the track, with the first verse beginning, “Midnight, not a sound from the pavement…” being used in only the brief, Act I rendition of the song and a new verse, “Memory, turn your face to the moonlight…” in its place for the Act II performance. Furthermore, the original second bridge section became the first and a new second bridge instated. Consequently, the arrangement of the lyrics for a recording usually depends on whether the artist has played the role on stage.

The song is often incorrectly referred to as “Memories”; the correct title is the singular “Memory”.

Link: Cats-the discarded lyrics


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