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Memory (song)

"Memory", often incorrectly called "Memories", is a show tune from the 1981 musical Cats.[1] It is sung by the character Grizabella, a one-time glamour cat who is now only a shell of her former self. The song is a nostalgic remembrance of her glorious past and a declaration of her wish 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. Its writers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[2]

Contents

  • Conception and composition 1
  • Cover versions 2
  • Parody 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Conception and composition

The lyric, written by Cats director Trevor Nunn, was based on T. S. Eliot's poems "Preludes" and "Rhapsody on a Windy Night". Andrew Lloyd Webber's former writing partner Tim Rice and contemporary collaborator Don Black submitted a lyric to the show's producers for consideration, although Nunn's version was favoured. Elaine Paige has said that she sang a different lyric to the tune of "Memory" for the first ten previews of Cats.

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!"[3]

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.

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

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. In addition, the original second bridge section became the first and a new second bridge was added. Consequently, the arrangement of the lyric for a recording usually depends on whether the artist has played the role on stage.

Cover versions

"Memory" has been covered by numerous musical acts:

Parody

A parody of this song was created in response to when O. J. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, as follows: "Midnight, on my way to Chicago, chasing me in my Bronco on the streets of L. A...."

References

  1. ^ "Cats" ReallyUseful.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  2. ^ Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent, 28 May 1994
  3. ^ Bence Olveczky, Cats – Stage Review, The Tech, Issue 48 : Friday, 8 October 1999
  4. ^ Paige 1981 UK Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  5. ^ Paige 1998 UK Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  6. ^ Streisand UK Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 394.
  8. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 260.
  9. ^ Information at Svensk mediedatabas
  10. ^ by WingWing Sings All Your Favourites

External links

  • Rhapsody on a Windy Night and
  • Preludes the T. S. Eliot poems that inspired the lyrics to "Memory"
  • Memories 1981 Album Barbra Streisand Archives Memories album page
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