First is my nephew, Michael Forde who lives in Batley in West Yorkshire with his wife, Amanda and their four children. Have a happy birthday, Michael. Love Uncle Billy and Sheila xxx
The second birthday celebrant today is my Facebook friend, Mary O’Regan who lives in Dublin. Mary was born in the same Irish village of Portlaw as I was. Thank you for being my Facebook friend, Mary and have a nice day. Bill xxx
My song today is that show tune that was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Trevor Nunn. The song is based on a poem by T.S.Eliot (entitled ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’).
‘Memory’ was written primarily for the musical ‘Cats’, where it is sung by the character Grizabella as a melancholic remembrance of her glamorous past and as a plea for acceptance. ‘Memory’ is the climax of the musical and by far its best-known song, having achieved mainstream success outside of the musical. According to musicologist Jessica Sternfeld, it is "by some estimations, the most successful song ever from a musical." Elaine Paige originated the role of Grizabella in the West End production of ‘Cats’, and was thus the first to perform the song publicly on stage. ‘Memory’ was named the ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’ at the 1982 ‘Ivor Novello Awards’.
In the musical ‘Cats’, ‘Memory’ is sung primarily by Grizabella; a one-time ‘glamour cat’ who has fallen on hard times and is now only a shell of her former self. For most of the musical, Grizabella is ostracised by her fellow ‘Jellicle Cats’; recalling the time before she became an outcast.
There are three key changes in ‘Memory’ in order to keep the song within a comfortable range for a chest voice. It starts off in the key of B-flat minor, switches to G-flat major as Grizabella collapses then changes again to D-flat major for the climax. My own rendition of the song necessitated modification of some of these key changes!
‘Memory’ has been covered by literally thousands of artists over the years, the most notable being Elaine Paige, Barry Manilow, and Barbara Streisand. It remains one of the most popular of British show songs.
Just as the song makes an outcast of its main character, some of the actions that each of us has probably engaged in throughout our lives could possibly have placed us in the same boat.
When I was being brought up, my mother once told me, ‘Billy, hold on to your good memories and never let them go, they are more precious than you can ever realise. One day, they may be all you’re left with!” She was so right.
When I hear bereaved people lovingly recall incidents with their dead spouse twenty, thirty and forty years earlier, I see a small flicker of light return to their eyes and I hear in their voice that unmistakable echo of hope they once held out as they faced the future together. No marriage is ever perfect, however much it may seem to outsiders, and it is therefore impossible for all memories of even the most loving of relationships to be good ones. The bad things a loving couple do to each never leave the recesses of the mind, and if they stay together and honour their marriage vows, it’s not that they ever forget; they forgive.
Love and peace Bill xxx