Exploring Life on Mars

“I somehow got hold of a completely white studio and that dictated the concept – it was as simple as that. We showed up around noon, because none of us liked to start too early.

David looked amazing in his blue suit – it was made by his mate Freddie Burretti, who made the Ziggy costume. Pierre Laroche, who also worked on the Aladdin Sane cover, did the great makeup. And there we were – we just shot for no more than five hours”

Mick Rock, director/2nd cameraman

You’ve got 23 days to catch the BBC radio programme Exploring “Life on Mars”It’s not just another Bowie anniversary documentary. Tris Penna located Bowie’s original demo tape for the song, along with unreleased archive BBC interviews and audio.

If you write songs in English, you’ll find the whole programme useful. Go to 24 minutes in to hear how the lyrics of Life on Mars changed as the song developed. It’s an inspiration if you’re struggling to find the ‘right’ words.

Mick Rock’s 2016 reworking of the original Life on Mars video:

Which version do you prefer? I find the last few, black and white seconds of the reworking poignant and I like it as a ‘making of’, but I don’t like the fact that Mick Ronson‘s guitar and Woody Woodmansey‘s drums are missing.

©SingBetterEnglish2017

Paul McCartney

If you’re a musician, a songwriter, or simply a lover of music, you’ll find Paul McCartney’s extended interview/Q&A on BBC Radio 4’s “Mastertapes” fascinating.

The longer, downloadable radio version is here.

The video version is edited, with about 10 minutes removed, so, if you like A Day in the Life, find 24:25 minutes into the radio interview. McCartney talks about the shared songwriting with Lennon, about John Cage’s influence on the sound and about George Martin persuading the orchestra to follow unusual musical instructions. Paul says one member of the orchestra walked out in disgust when he was asked to ‘clap on the end of Hey Jude‘.

There’s something for everyone! If you teach music to children,  Paul has suggestions for inspiring lessons here.

© Sing Better English, 2016

 

Jazz, respect and memory

What’s a Polish song doing on a blog about singing in English? Blaszane Mordy is here to show connecting with a song is a skill, and an ability, that transcends a single language. You don’t need to understand Polish to ‘understand’ Lautari‘s Blaszane Mordy. Emotion pulses within the shape of the words alone:

Continue reading Jazz, respect and memory

Stepping into a song: “Le Premier Bonheur du Jour”

When you sing, you’re telling a story. Like a good actor, you need to believe the words that come out of your mouth; to choose them. No matter who wrote them.

Watch Françoise Hardy switch from ‘young female guest on Sacha Distel‘s TV show’ to ‘woman in love’.  We believe her as she starts to sing. Why? Because she believes herself. You can see her refocus. Watch her pupils get bigger, then smaller, around 14 seconds in: 

Continue reading Stepping into a song: “Le Premier Bonheur du Jour”

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