The Life of a Song: ‘I Wish I Knew’

To generations of British Television viewers, its complete-octave, syncopated piano chords and grooving bass are quickly recognisable as the theme tune to the BBC’s Film evaluation series. But to Americans, “I Want I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” has deeper resonances, getting very best identified as a civil rights anthem. When Nina Simone recorded it on her 1967 album Silk and Soul, nearly quickly it became a freedom song, up there with “A Alter is Gonna Come” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

But this irresistibly catchy 16-bar gospel-jazz tune started life an instrumental. Born in 1921 in North Carolina, composer Billy Taylor was a gifted pianist who had constructed an impressive jazz pedigree functioning in New York with bebop luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Artie Shaw and Charlie Parker. By the 1960s, he was also a broadcaster and civil rights campaigner, and had recorded numerous albums, largely with his trio.

Bucking that trend, the very first recording of “I Want I Knew” on Taylor’s 1963 album Correct Here, Proper Now had a big-band line-up of 19 musicians. With Ben Tucker on bass and Grady Tate on drums, Taylor’s eloquent piano solo is bookended by a complete horn chorus that is practically hymnal. (The version utilised by the BBC was recorded later, with a trio, in 1967.)

But the song had but to be performed or recorded with lyrics. Billy Taylor’s daughter Kim Taylor-Thompson, a law professor in New York, had initially spurred her father to write the song when she came house from college singing a spiritual.

Kim takes up the story (by way of e-mail) of how it acquired lyrics. “Dad initially recorded it as an instrumental. But, as I recall, he had written the first verse of the lyrics fairly early on. He got stuck at a single point and invited [lyricist] Dick Dallas to collaborate to aid him finish the lyrics and that’s when we got the later verses. I’ve always felt that there was a distinction among the first verse and the later ones. I believe you hear my dad’s voice most clearly in the initial verse.”


Listen to an audio version of this report, with clips from the songs

So, as quickly as Nina Simone sang, “I wish I could break all the chains holding me” on Silk and Soul, the floodgates had been open. Simone’s artistry and passion took the song to an additional level, a single that resonated not only with the civil rights movement but with concerns of identity and individualism.

Like Taylor, Simone was born in North Carolina, and church music played a huge element in her childhood like him she had a formal musical instruction like him she was an activist, and in her impassioned therapy of the song on Silk and Soul her voice is clear, sincere, with out irony.

Subsequent versions of the song were significantly less convincing. The following year, the song reached No 68 in the US charts in a recording by Solomon Burke that begins with the cheesy voiceover: “Have you ever wished upon a star/And all your hopes seem so far?” Folk singers John Denver and Mary Travers made earnest guitar-strumming versions.

In 2001, UK duo The Lighthouse Loved ones released a wistfully yearning version featuring the mellifluous voice of Tunde Baiyewu. Emeli Sandé’s 2013 rendition is full of soulful intent.

Meanwhile Coca-Cola capitalised on the song’s feelgood issue with a 2004 Tv advert featuring British singer Sharlene Hector, even though the lyrics had been changed to the schmaltzy “I wish I could share all the enjoy that is in my heart”, with Hector strolling down a US street handing out bottles of Coke to delighted passers-by.

All of which is a world away from the gutsy Simone. It was in live concerts that she really took possession of the song, providing it a powerful, private rawness. Like a gospel preacher, she improvised with the lyrics, turning their message of hope into positive affirmation: “I know how it feels/Not to be chained/to any race/to any face”. At Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976 she put on a storming show, transporting the audience although simultaneously showing her effortless mastery of piano types from swing to baroque.

Above all, Simone gave herself entirely to the freedom of functionality, of becoming herself, carrying out and saying specifically as she felt at the time. In the film Nina directed by Joel Gold, she mentioned that freedom for her meant “no fear”. Her fearlessness is the legacy of the song.

Photograph: David Redfern

Section: Arts

Miguel Invites You To ‘Come By way of And Chill’ On His Attractive New Song

Final we heard from Miguel, he was bringing attractive back with a predictably alluring Justin Timberlake cover. Now, the Wildheart crooner is serving up much more of the exact same sultry vibes, this time with a brand new song of his own.

On Thursday night, Miguel premiered “Come By way of and Chill,” a cool, mellow, not-at-all-subtle ode to late evening lovin’. “Say you will, will, will/ Come via and chill, chill, chill,” he pleads, prior to top his lover in a chant of “I want to fuck all night” (I told you: subtlety is not Miguel’s style). Salaam Remi — the brains behind numerous hits with Nas, Amy Winehouse, and Toni Braxton — supplies the slinking beat, which adds some summer-acceptable reggae flavor to Miguel’s dependable R&ampB swagger.

Kick back, unwind, and appreciate the song under:

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&#039Crazy Ex-Girlfriend&#039 Challenges Stereotypes A single Song At A Time

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom, far left) moves from New York to California in pursuit of her ex (Vincent Rodriguez III, third from left) in the CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (Also pictured: Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner and David Hull)

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom, far left) moves from New York to California in pursuit of her ex (Vincent Rodriguez III, third from left) in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (Also pictured: Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner and David Hull) Danny Feld/The CW hide caption

toggle caption Danny Feld/The CW

When 28-year-old comedian Rachel Bloom won a very best actress Golden Globe this year for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the Television show she stars in and co-produced, she told the crowd: “We practically didn’t have a show. We made a pilot for another network and they rejected it. And we sent the pilot to every other network in Hollywood and we got six rejections in one day and we felt like crap. But we knew it was great.”

Ultimately, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend identified a property at the CW, which premiered the show’s 1st season last fall. The musical-comedy-drama follows a mess of a young woman named Rebecca Bunch. Rebecca is productive at perform, but miserable at life. Soon after a likelihood meeting with her ex-boyfriend from summer time camp — that is right, summer time camp — she ditches her high-paying New York job and moves across the nation to his hometown of West Covina, Calif.

Bloom says, &quotThe whole show is about [Rebecca] learning to pursue her own happiness.&quot

Bloom says, “The complete show is about [Rebecca] finding out to pursue her personal happiness.” Patrick Wymore/The CW hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Wymore/The CW

Rebecca, played by Bloom, is at instances unbalanced, adorable and satirical, but often in crucial. Bloom tells NPR’s Audie Cornish about making a show that was designed to dismantle stereotypes.

Interview Highlights

On Rebecca’s depression and anxiousness

We always wanted the show to confront her mental illness head-on. The premise of the show is just a romantic comedy where it’s like: Oh, a woman’s unhappy she’s a lawyer and she moves to attempt to win back the man she loves. But if you appear at the realism in that, it’s like, OK, if a person actually did that, they would be a tremendously unhappy particular person. That is a not excellent issue to do. And so inherent in the premise of the show was Rebecca’s depression and anxiousness. And the whole show is about her studying to pursue her personal happiness as opposed to attempting to make other people pleased.

On how absolutely everyone on the show is a little crazy

We attempt not to view anyone on this show from a lens of labeling them we try to make certain that you recognize where every single character is coming from. But yes, Rebecca is a tiny crazy. And when she comes to West Covina, we recognize that everyone else on the show is a tiny crazy, too. …

There’s a enjoy triangle inherent in the show, and several men and women root for Rebecca and Greg, Josh’s very best friend. And I want to remind every person that when Greg and Rebecca 1st meet, he says to her, “You are fairly and smart and ignoring me, so you’re certainly my sort.” That is adorable. That’s not a healthful factor to say to someone. … It shows that he doesn’t respect himself and it shows his own pathologies.

On the show’s mission

The entire show is about deconstructing stereotypes and deconstructing folks and obtaining the truth beneath tropes. And so that’s why the title is so, kind of, provocative in that way. You know, employing the label “crazy ex-girlfriend” and viewing it from a feminist perspective and how does 1 come to embody that? What does love do to your brain? When you let love take you over is it because you happen to be utilizing it as an escape from your genuine difficulties?

On “The Sexy Getting Ready Song”

This is from the pilot and Rebecca is about to go to this celebration exactly where the object of her affection will be.

Note: This video consists of mature content material.

The CW Tv Network YouTube

And I consider there is this type of fetishizing of … a woman receiving prepared and she’s primping and she’s, you know, dusting a powder puff into powder and producing herself smell pretty. And, no: Acquiring prepared for a celebration is disgusting and frustrating and horrifying. And so … the contrast among not only like beauty and ugliness, but how items are portrayed in pop culture and in pop music and how factors truly are was really a lot our guide for that song.

On how they choose when a character is going to burst into song

There is an old saying when writing musical theater: … When the emotion is also sturdy for the characters to speak, they sing. And then when it really is as well strong to sing, they dance. So that’s our guide: What are the strongest emotional moments in the episode? And we use that to decide when we’ll break into a musical number. And the other issue was the type of emotional ups and downs of adore are best for a musical.

On regardless of whether the show will be renewed for a second season

Oh, gosh, you inform me. We’re hopeful. We’re nonetheless waiting on it. We’re hoping for very good news, but, you know, it is anything that’s so out of our manage — the identical point with ratings, the exact same factor with awards. All we can do is make the show we want and make it till an individual tells us to cease.

Arts &amp Life : NPR

Sia Becomes A ‘Bird Set Free’ With This Adele Leftover Song

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If you don’t know the backstory of Sia’s most current single, “Bird Set Cost-free,” you may believe it’s an fascinating anthem about her stepping out from below the thumb of some wing-clipping, voice-silencing tormenter. But when you uncover out the song was originally co-written with and reduce by Adele for 25, nicely, that modifications the story entirely.

Like “Alive,” Sia’s initial track released from her new album This Is Acting, “Bird Set Free” was co-written by the two mononymous singers — one of 3 total that they came up with — with the intention of obtaining Adele incorporate it on her 25 album. And even even though Adele did record the song for her album, it didn’t make it onto the final track list.

“She actually did reduce that a single, but then at the last minute, she was like ’everybody is saying that it just sounds like a Sia song,’” Sia explained to Ryan Seacrest in September.

And whilst, yes, the pace and arc of the song are so quite Sia, the lyrics are a full reminder of the struggle Adele endured a few years ago with her vocal cords.

“Clipped wings, I was a broken issue/Had a voice, had a voice but I could not sing”: In 2011, Adele suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage from a benign polyp and was forced to cancel several shows to undergo laser microsurgery to repair the harm.

“Had a voice, had a voice but I could not talk”: Soon after her surgery, Adele was ordered not to speak for two months.

“I’m not gon’ care if I sing off key/I uncover myself in my melodies/I sing for adore, I sing for me/I shout it out like a bird set free”: Adele’s surgery was a comprehensive success, but even if issues hadn’t returned to typical, it sounds like she wouldn’t have provided up on her enjoy of music.

“Now I fly, hit the higher notes/I have a voice, have a voice, hear me roar tonight/You held me down/But I fought back loud”: In 2012, Adele returned to the stage at the Grammys with a triumphant comeback functionality of “Rolling in the Deep.”

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&#13 Clumsy, wavy-haired, and full of great intentions. Yep, that about sums it up.

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