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Showcase 2015

Running order


Programme Notes

Act One

Our opening number is One Voice, written by Ruth Moody for her band, The Wailin Jennys, and recently covered by Kerry Ellis and Brian May - it is this version we have used in the show. How can you sum up the career of the irrepressible Sir Elton John? Since his debut album in 1969, he has sold more than 300 million records. In the mid-1970s, he was responsible for 2% of all record sales worldwide. Our section starts with the 1983 hit I'm Still Standing,. Written with long-term writing partner Bernie Taupin, the song is perhaps best known for its memorable video, featuring a young Bruno Tonioli! We then perform a medley, starting with a trio of songs from the 1973 album Goodby Yellow Brick Road. First is Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, followed by Daniel, and finally, the title track itself. The medley concludes with Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, which originally featured three members of the Beach Boys on backing vocals and only reached number 16 in the UK charts, although a 1991 live version, recorded with George Michael, reached number 1 in over a dozen countries. Our tribute continues with Electricity from the 2005 musical Billy Elliot and concludes with I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, taken from the Too Low For Zero album, featuring a rare co-writer's credit for Davey Johnstone, who has been Elton's guitarist of choice since 1970!

Jacques Brel was a Belgian composer who sold over 25 million records worldwide. His thoughtful and theatrical songs have been translated into English and have been covered by artists as varied as David Bowie, Ray Charles, Edith Piaf and Olivia Newton John. Our section opens with Madame, a typical Brel song full of character, and continues with If We Only Have Love, an a-typical cry for humanity. Next is one of Brel's most celebrated songs, Jackie, which was recorded in 1968 by Scott Walker and more recently by Marc Almond and Peter Straker. The section closes with The Impossible Dream, which was not written by Brel himself but taken from the 1965 musical Man Of La Mancha - Brel saw the show on Broadway as was so enamoured with the piece that he translated the show into French and played the lead part of Don Quixote - this was the only time in his career that Brel worked on other writers' material.

Act One concludes with a whistle-stop tour of the musicals, starting with Anyone Who Had A Heart, which is included here for two reasons. Firstly, it was featured in the recent musical Bacharach Reimagined, and secondly, as a tribute to the great Cilla Black. Cilla's version topped the UK charts in 1964, outselling Dionne Warwick's original of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. Next are two songs from Kander and Ebb's Cabaret. Our first number is Money, which was added to the 1972 movie and was memorably performed by the Oscar-winning Joel Gray. Second is Maybe This Time, which was performed in the movie by Liza Minnelli. We continue with a medley from the 2014 musical Sunny Afternoon. Based on the music of Ray Davies and The Kinks, the show bagged four Olivier awards, including best new musical. Our medley includes Lola, All Day And All Of The Night and You Really Got Me. We continue with another current West End hit show with the title track from Carole King's Beautiful. The show opened in London in February 2015 and won the Olivier award for best actress in a muscial for its star, Katie Brayben. We continue with Love Heals, written by the late Jonathan Larson for his 1996 show Rent. The show, which updates Puccini's La Boheme, won numerous Tony awards and even the Pulitzer Prize. We close our first half with Everything's Coming Up Roses from the 1959 musical Gypsy. Written by Jules Styne and Stephen Sondheim, and based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the show is currently running in a triumphant season in London starring Imelda Staunton. The song was performed in the original production by Ethel Merman and became one of her trademark tunes.

Act Two

Act Two begins with a tribute to one of the UK's most successful bands, Fleetwood Mac. Formed in 1967 by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, the band were hugely successful in the 1960s, featuring blues guitarist Peter Green. Following numerous changes, the classic line-up was completed in the mid 70s with the addition of Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. We start with two numbers from the album Rumours, which has sold over 40 million copies and is the sixth bestselling album of all time. The Chain will be best known to most people as the theme to the BBC's Formula One coverage. Stevie Nicks' Dreams was released as a single in 1977, only reaching number 24 in the UK, although it was a huge hit in the US. Next up is Seven Wonders, taken from the 1987 album Tango In The Night. This is followed by a medley of Don't Stop and Go Your Own Way. Written by Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham respectively, both songs speak volumes about the fraught personal relationships among the band members while they were recording the album. The section closes with the beautiful ballad Songbird. Written by Christine McVie, the song was famously covered by Eva Cassidy and is now the closing track on the group's most recent tour.

Act Two continues with our presentation of some of the greatest cover versions ever recorded, beginning with Don't Stop Me Now. Originally written by Freddie Mercury in 1979, the song was a number 9 hit for Queen and was re-recorded by Foxes for a memorable appearance in Doctor Who. Never Tear Us Apart was originally recorded by INXS for their 1988 album Kick and was revived by Paloma Faith in 2014 for a John Lewis advert. Only You was composed by Vince Clark and was a number 2 hit for Yazoo in 1982. The cover version was released by the Flying Pickets the following year and was the 1983 Christmas number 1. The track was promoted as being performed as acapella, but in fact featured synthesisers throughout. Our version tonight is 100% acapella! Next up is the song that was recently voted the greatest cover version of all time by readers of The Guardian, Always On My Mind. The original was written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, and was was initially recorded by Gwen McRae and Brenda Lee. In 1972 it was covered by Elvis Presley, and after nearly three hundred different versions, in 1987 by Pet Shop Boys. Nothing Compares 2 U was originally written by Prince and was recorded by his side project, The Family, in 1985. The song was covered by Sinead O'Connor in 1990 and hit number 1 in over a dozen countries. Next is Constant Craving, which was a 1992 hit for the writer, k.d. lang, and was covered in 2014 by J2 featuring guest vocals by Lesley Roy. The section finishes with Easy, originally a 1977 number 9 hit for Lionel Richie's Commodores; the song was covered by Faith No More in 1992 and reached number 3 in the UK charts.

Our finale begins with two songs from Les Miserables. First is Jean Valjean's tender ballad Bring Him Home, sung as he realises that Marius has saved his life and is in love with his adopted daughter, Cosette. This is followed by a song performed by Marius himself, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables, as he remembers his colleagues who have given their lives on the barricades. This is followed by one of the most successful songs in history, Stand By Me, written by Ben E King with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The song was released in 1961 and was a number 27 hit. After being used in the film of the same name, it climbed to number 9 in the charts in 1986, finally reaching number 1 in 1987 when it was used in a Levi's advert. We close with He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother). Written in 1969 by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, the song became a huge hit for The Hollies. The original recording featured Elton John on piano. Most recently, the song has been performed by the Justice Collective to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for justice by families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.