Great Love Songs #8 to #14 for February Facebook Meme

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In late January, I proposed a Facebook meme to share a love song a day for February that contains Valentine’s Day.

The first seven songs I had shared can be found through this link.

Below is the second set of seven great love songs of my list and some short commentary with each.

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Favourite Songs I Heard for the First Time in 2009

What were your favourite pieces of music that you heard for the first time last year?

I don’t necessarily mean music that came out last year, just that you heard it for the first time last year because it was new to you. If you care to share, you can put it in the comments following the post. I’d love to know to expand my musical horizons.

Below are a list of favourite songs I heard for the first time in 2009, enough that would fit on CD were I to have made one. Most were from musicals as I really got into them in 2009 after my classic jazz year in 2008. A few were one-off takes on television events, though, so I’ll start with one that was both. It was available on YouTube like most of my selections so I have included the videos to have the music right here for you. I also linked the songs to blog posts I did inspired by them, where I did one.

Someone Like You

from Jekyll & Hyde
Linda Eder & Frank Wildhorn on 2000 PBS Special
Linda Eder delivers a loving performance of this gorgeous song with touching lyrics, accompanied by husband Frank Wildhorn, who had composed the song. (blog post)

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If You Were Gay

from Avenue Q
Rick Lyon and John Tartaglia

Love and humour, not just in song but also video spoof. (blog post)

The Internet is for Porn

from Avenue Q
Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Rick Lyon & the Guys
Possibly the funniest song I have ever heard! (blog post)

Mix Tape

from Avenue Q
Stephanie D’Abruzzo and John Tartaglia

A song that dragged my emotions up and down, enhanced by Stephanie’s nuances of acting while singing this song. (blog post)

As Long as You’re Mine

from Wicked
Idina Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz
An often overlooked song from Wicked that I only heard once I saw the musical, rather than hearing the more popular songs from it. However, I loved it immediately, especially the soft-spoken ending.

Academy Awards 2009 Introduction

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway
This number was both brilliant and unexpected in being clever, funny and spectacularly performed. My intro to the full talents of Hugh Jackman. (blog post)

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Monologue Song

from Saturday Night Live November 7, 2009
Taylor Swift

How to trash everybody you want to with class and humour while being really cute about it. (blog post)

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Dark Eyes

by Bob Dylan
Judy Collins
Judy Collins gives this sad Dylan song a haunting rendition. (blog post)

Better Angels

Lesley Gore
The original It’s My Party girl seriously grows up with this beautiful tune I first heard on CSI Miami (compilation video of episode shown below).

I Got a Feeling

Black Eyed Peas
Just an awesome dance song, ’nuff said cause I’m getting dancing! Best 2009 song in my opinion. (I chose the flash mob version shown on Oprah for the video cause it’s also so awesome!)

Wake-up

The Arcade Fire
I heard this song via the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are and thought they had made a pretty good choice for a theme song.

The Closest Thing to Crazy

by Mike Batt
Katie Melua
Pretty much describes what feeling in love feels like to me. (blog post)

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Gayla Peevey
I heard it on a Telus commercial and loved it immediately, a bit surprised I had never heard this 1950s seasonal classic until now. (blog post)

You’ve Gotta Have a Gimmick

from There’s No Business Like Show Business
Bernadette Peters, Julia McKenzie, Ruthie Henshall
This is probably the ultimate example of my claim that girls have all the fun songs in musicals, and the video only emphasizes the point.

Married

from Cabaret
Ron Rifkin, Michelle Pawk
A charming little song about marriage. A compact version is shown below.

Mystery

performed on the show Inside the Actor’s Studio
Hugh Laurie
A hilarious and charming example of how lyric writing sometimes feels like to me, trying to find desperate rhymes and more desperate words that conform with desperate rhymes. (blog post)

Love, Look in my Window

from Hello Dolly!
Ethel Merman

There isn’t a video for this one but the piece was written for Ethel Merman when she joined Hello Dolly! If you hear her perform it with the emotions she does, you’ll know why it was written for her. I can hardly keep from crying at points in it. Probably good I don’t have the music for that reason!

Someone Should Write a Wolverine Musical

If you’re not aware, Hugh Jackman is an incredibly talented actor with skills beyond acting like real singing and dancing skills. He has starred in musicals such as Oklahoma! (video) and The Boy from Oz (video from 2004 Tony Awards). However, my favourite example can be seen in his 2009 Oscars opening that he gave while hosting because he goes through so many characters, in musical format rather than their regular movie format (starting at 2:00 in video).

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Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

Currently, Hugh Jackman is arguably most well-known for his role as the X-men mutant Wolverine. The character was so well played and so loved by fans from original X-men trilogy of movies that it got its own movie, just released at time of posting. It’s a part Hugh played so stunningly it will be hard to imagine anyone else doing it. He really owns that role.

In terms of character, Wolverine is a rough on the edges, fearsome sort of character with many animal instincts and behaviours true to his name. It is quite the antithesis to anything most people associate with the fine art form of musical theatre. It is precisely because of this polarity that Hugh Jackman is truly able to show how talented an actor he is. He can really cover both ends of the acting spectrum well, finesse to rough, animal to human, action, drama, song, dance, and everything in between. Ironically, though, despite the respect he gets and deserves for this, there has also been jokes about him starring in a musical called Wolverine. Seems the people who joke about it thinks that if such a musical were made, it’d have Wolverine making a mockery of himself. However,  I beg to differ.

I think superhero comic book stories are very well suited to musical theatre! For one thing, where can you write in more drama than in a superhero comic book story? It’s like exaggerated fiction given super powers, where the heroes and villains are both larger than grand! With comic book stories, every subplot can be epic! In fact, you can probably make every musical number epic if you had a writers talented enough to write that many memorable numbers in a musical. That’s because you can expand every type of human emotion, ritual, value and such beyond the boundaries of what humans, society, the natural world and universe, can be expected to do in regular fiction or nonfiction.

For many, the doubts over a comic book superhero musical are really over the stage and musical theatre’s form to convincingly portray the supernatural elements and serious intense drama in comic books. That is, can the stage suit the comics rather than the comics suit the stage? Well, I say an equally convincing yes. There have been very dramatic and serious musicals portraying thriller and horror type stories that did not exactly extract laughs or make a mockery out of their heroes and villains, with technology nothing like they have for the theatre stage today. The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera is no mockery of a character even on a musical stage. The story of the demon barber Sweeney Todd has also been adapted into a musical of the same name. It was a musical thriller, no less, and won a Tony Award in 1979, no less. The famous story of Jekyll & Hyde has also been well adapted to theatre, with two songs that could well have been in a superhero comic book musical. This is the Moment primes for the ultimate of ultimate moments, well sung below by Robert Cuccioli.

Meanwhile, Someone Like You is about as nice a love by chance song as you’ll find. Linda Eder, who sang it on Broadway as part of the Jekyll & Hyde production, sings it below with her real life husband and the song’s writer, Frank Wildhorse, in a PBS Special. This is real life love and magic in music.

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What exists with Hugh Jackman being such a great screen and musical actor, with a comic superhero part he’s made his own, is an opportunity for a superhero comic book that might not ever occur any time soon. To that realization, I’m really hoping someone will work on a Wolverine musical. It shouldn’t be the kinds of “jokes” you see below, which I love as humour, but in which I also see the potential for what could be. The first is of some guy spoofing Wolverine in a musical, but has some more serious moments.

The second is Hugh Jackman, himself, doing Wolverine the musical with action figures in an interview (3:50 into the video)! I can’t believe hardly anyone has seen this video (under 1000 at time of posting)! Sure, he’s humouring the reporter but it seems to me he’s game, and that’s not the type of material I’m thinking about. And hey, if Hugh’s game, I say what are we waiting for?

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.1