Together in Electric Dreams
Music & Lyrics: Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder; Arranger: Giancarlo Galliani Pecchia
The Human League’s Phil Oakey teamed up with electronic master Giorgio Moroder for this classic ‘80s tune. Moroder is best known for his production work and is often called the ‘Father of Disco’. He notably produced singles for Donna Summer including Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love and Hot Stuff. This song was written for the film Electric Dreams, a sci-fi rom-com that followed a love triangle between a man, a woman and a personal computer! The film was not a critical or commercial success, and the song quickly overshadowed it becoming a worldwide hit in its own right. Oakey later said that it was ironic that a song that took about ten minutes to record would become a worldwide hit, while some of his (synth-pop band) Human League tracks that took over a year to record did not. In 2019 Together in Electric Dreams was the focus of a new Strongbow UK TV advert, but performed in an acoustic folk style by duo Rob & Chris.
Corner of the Sky
Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz; Arranger: Rice Majors / Michael Derrick
Written by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), Corner of the Sky is from the musical Pippin which is set in France during the 8th century, Pippin, son of the Emperor Charlemagne, is searching for his purpose in life and, although certain that he wants to be extraordinary, he finds it difficult to assert his individuality.
This song at the start of the show introduces the audience to Pippin; he is telling his father and his teachers that he has to venture forth into the world and find the place where he most belongs, his ‘corner of the sky’. Schwartz’s lyrics perfectly encapsulate those feelings of frustration and longing one feels as a teenager, when the world outside your door feels so fresh and inviting. And they continue to resonate with a lot of people because it is basically everybody’s life story. This arrangement was first done for the Pinkies in 1994 by Rice Majors, an American who was studying in the UK at the time and for whom the song had a special meaning.
December will be Magic Again
Music & Lyrics: Kate Bush; Arranger: Simon Pearson
This underrated (certainly underplayed) festive themed song by Kate Bush was released in 1980 but only reached number 29 on the UK singles chart. It has grown in status since then with Elton John including it on his 2006 Christmas album, Elton John’s Christmas Party. Always the literature-obsessed enigma, Kate pays tribute in the song to her hero, Oscar Wilde, who died in Paris eighty years earlier – the same month as the single was released. Old Saint Nick and Bing Crosby also get a mention. The best lyrics in tonight’s show? “December will be magic again, Don’t miss the brightest star, Kiss under mistletoe, I want to hear you laugh, Don’t let the mystery go now.”
What About Us?
Music & Lyrics: Alecia Moore, Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid; Arranger: Ian Faulkner; Soloists: Simon Harrison, Charly Milton-Doyle
What About Us was the lead single from American singer Pink’s seventh studio album, Beautiful Trauma released in 2017. It topped charts in Australia, South Africa, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland, and was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018. At face value, the lyrics read from the perspective of someone in a turbulent relationship, but they can be just as easily interpreted as a plea for guidance in this confusing political climate as it asks the poignant questions, “What about us? What about all the times you said you had the answers?” Pink has done political songs before, notably 2006’s Dear Mr. President which we sang in our Diva’s concert last summer. Pink’s real name is Alecia Moore. Alecia’s childhood nickname was ‘Pink,’ as she was easily embarrassed, which caused her to turn bright pink. It then became her trademark hair color, and her artist name. Of course, she is one of many great Pink Singers!
Music & Lyrics: Jamie Hartman and Rory Graham; Arranger: Simon Pearson
Human is a song by British singer/songwriter Rory Graham (who performs under the name Rag’n’Bone Man) co-written with Jamie Hartman, former lead singer of the indie-pop band Ben’s Brother. Heavily influenced by gospel music and the blues, Human reached number
one in the record charts in the USA, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland. In Germany, it remained on top of the charts for over three months. It was later used as the theme song for the American television series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. The non-deplume Rag’n’Bone Man was born out of Rory Grahams’ obsession with the BBC sitcom about two rag-and-bone men, Steptoe and Son. Jack Whitehall has called him a man with “the voice of an angel and the beard of a wizard”!
All of Me
Music & Lyrics: John Legend and Toby Gadd; Arranger: Zoë Burdo
All of Me was written in 2013 and was among the biggest hits of the decade and cemented American singer JohnLegend as one of the most admired singer-songwriters of his generation. The song is a passionate love letter to his then-fiancé model Chrissy Teigen, praising their relationship, even during the ups and downs. This was the first number one single of John Legend’s career topping the pop charts in the USA, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden and reaching number two in the UK charts. In 2014 John Legend told US magazine that he eats half a rotisserie chicken before every performance. The Pinkies have chickened out of doing the same!
Closer To Fine
Music & Lyrics: Emily Saliers; Arranger: Naomi Berwin
Soloists: Jen Edge, Zoë Johannes, Holly Pennick, Annie Ring, Charlotte Rushworth, Charly Milton-Doyle, Zoë Burdo, Kirsten Pulley, Ali Milton-Doyle, Karin Read, Keri Seymour
This was the first hit song for American duo The Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. They had been friends since elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia, playing punk clubs and community pubs. Walking the musical line between R.E.M. and Tracy Chapman got them signed to Epic Records, which led to the release of their self-titled album which won the 1989 Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Closer To Fine was written by Saliers on a porch in Vermont while vacationing with her family. She had just graduated from college and was ruminating on a world of academia that seems fraught with seemingly sure footed answers that often fail to be full. The song’s lyrical resolution “The less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine” is a testament to the notion that we each have all the truth and wisdom we need right inside of us and the more we look for it outside ourselves the further we get from it. Or as Rolling Stone magazine put it “joy, hope, and validation set to music.”
Rolling In The Deep
Music & Lyrics: Adele Atkins and Paul Epworth; Arranger: Nicki Wakefield
Rolling In The Deep was the first single from English R&B singer-songwriter Adele’s second album 21, her age at the time the songs were written. Adele described the song to Spin magazine as a kiss-off to an unfaithful former boyfriend, “It was my reaction to being told my life was going to be lonely and boring and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn’t stay in the relationship.” She composed it in a single afternoon inspired by the slang phrase ‘rolling deep’ which means that if you are ever in trouble you have always got someone who’s going to help you fight it. Rolling Stone named the song as the best single of 2011 describing it as the “breakup scorcher to beat all breakup scorchers.”
Rainy Days and Mondays
Music & Lyrics: Paul Williams and Roger Nichols; Arranger: Simon Pearson
This song was made famous by arguably the defining performers of that much-reviled genre Easy Listening, siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter, aka the Carpenters. The duo was one of the best-selling recording acts of the 1970s and ten of their singles sold a million copies or
more. Rainy Days and Mondays was a huge hit in the US in 1971 but failed to chart in the UK until it was re-released in 1993.
The song was written for composer Paul Williams’ mother. He says “When you dare to share your most private thoughts about loneliness or love you may be happily surprised by the number of people who identify with your emotions and find comfort in knowing they’re not alone”.
Much to be Done
Music: Iain Bell; Text: Mark Campbell
Much to be Done is from the opera Stonewall which was commissioned by New York City Opera for their Pride Initiative and to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The opera received its first performance on 21st June 2018 at New York’s Lincoln Centre.
This choral arrangement was commissioned by the Pink Singers and we are honoured and delighted to premiere it tonight.
Iain Bell has forged an enviable reputation as one of the most gifted British composers of his generation, with an output that is predominantly vocal and to date includes five operas, including Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel which was performed at the English National Opera last year. In addition, he has collaborated with many of the current leading song recitalists and accompanists, producing several notable song-cycles.
Mark Campbell is a New York-based librettist and lyricist whose operas have received both a Pulitzer Prize in Music and a Grammy Award. Stonewall is the story of a cross-section of disparate characters who are participants in the riots at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village, New York in 1969 which are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights. The chorale finale Much To Be Done is sung on the morning following the riots.
Music & Lyrics: Ryan Amador; Arranger: Chris Chambers; Soloists: Clive Raynes, Ben Thorner
This song by Ryan Amador, a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn New York, challenges the traditional notions of identity. Define Me was written in 2012 for an LGBT+ youth conference and is about removing the labels that divide us. Amador has donated the royalties from the song to organizations supporting diversity and equality.
His video of the song in a duet with fellow singer Jo Lampert has reached over 700,000 views on YouTube.
The line, “If I’m defined by what I do, then what am I supposed to call you?” rings true not just for LGBT+ people but everyone who has ever been put down or insulted.
The Show Must Go On
Music & Lyrics: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor; Arranger: Chris Chambers; Soloists: Claire Hogg, Sally-Anne Smith, Ben Thorner, Shauna Laurel Jones, Keri Seymour
The Show Must Go On is a song by the British rock band Queen from their 1991 album Innuendo. It’s a song about accepting the challenges that you face but not letting them conquer or define you. Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was living with HIV / AIDS when he recorded the song and despite being gravely ill delivered one of his strongest vocals. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. He died of AIDS on November 24th 1991 at age 45, the day after announcing he had the disease. He had kept the show on the road up to the very last moment, a true artist who would not bow out before the final curtain falls.
Music & lyrics: Heather Small and Peter-John Vettesse;
Arranger: Simon Pearson
Proud was written by singer Heather Small and her producer Peter-John Vettesse and was released in May 2000 as her first solo single, becoming a worldwide hit. In 2005, the song was adopted as the official theme for the London 2012 Olympic bid. It has gone on to become the soundtrack synonymous with a whole host of sporting events including, of course, London’s 2012 Olympics, England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup and many more. Heather first found fame as the lead singer of the band M People who formed in 1990 and had chart success with top ten hits including Moving on Up, One Night in Heaven and Search for the Hero. Heather has sung this song at many Pride events in the UK and says “I grew up in 70’s Britain and I know what it feels like to feel like an outsider and to try and be accepted for who and what you are”.