Friday, March 07, 2008

Connie Talbot Sings "Over the Rainbow" (Updated)

[Not much time this morning for reading and blogging. Again today I doing a re-post. Connie Talbot's following continues to grow. Not a day passes that this post fails to attract half a dozen or more hits. They come from all over the world but mainly Europe and the U.K.]

[August 16, 2007] It's two months after the original post [June 17, 2007] and the story of Connie Talbot has changed again. After stealing the hearts of many, including Simon Cowell who made a quick move to sign her up for a large contract, she has been dropped by the big shots who make or break deals. It seems she's just too young to be signed for a contract, so that part of her future is out the window.

Simon Cowell, the self-styled TV talent-show tough-guy, is in the news again for his ruthless behavior. But this time, Cowell has been blamed for picking on a six-year-old.
A string of reports are turning the screw on Cowell and his label Sony BMG for reneging on a vow to deliver youngster Connie Talbot a record deal. Talbot had shone so brightly on TV talent quest "Britain's Got Talent" that Cowell described her talent as "pure magic."
Cowell's imprint Syco Music and Sony BMG have the rights to pick up contestants for recording deals.

However, Talbot's performance of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" did not have a fairytale ending. Syco and Sony BMG ultimately declined to sign the potential star because, they claim, she was too young.

"There was some deliberation over the possibility of recording with Connie," Sony BMG says in a statement. "However the decision not to proceed was made with the best intentions for Connie, taking into consideration her age and that it would not be right to do so at this time."

I think they made the right decision. There are too, too many instances of child stars who don't grow up anything like normal, often with tragic results. (And I knew something was up when this post started to get more hits from searches than any others, starting about two or three days ago. Odd way to keep up with news, isn't it?)

FWIW, Connie Talbot has a Wikipedia article. Wikipedia is the go-to place for news. Last year's weather (tsunami, Katina, etc) had articles with near real-time updates as events unfolded. Same with the Virginia Tech shooting. There was a two or three line article started within an hour of the event which underwent numerous updates as the story developed. Here's a link to the You Tube time-lapse video illustrating the point.


June 17

It's Sunday night and we know that Paul Potts has won the final competition, but all the world by now already is in love with this child. Potts' final performances cannot be viewed outside the UK (yet) but this child's achievements are a matter of record. If you watch this video to the end, you can select her final performance from among the icons that appear on the screen. She sings "over the Rainbow" again with a light acoustic guitar accompaniment. Among other things she wishes her Dad a happy Father's Day.

Everybody can see those other clips anytime, but the video I am posting is Connie's initial breakthrough performance.
A cappella.
Be sure to see the other links as well.

Followup, July 15

This is a followup of the song as well as this little singer.

As of this writing, a month after her performance, traffic to this post remains strong. Connie Talbot is getting more interest that Paul Potts (and Barack Obama, for that matter, for whom interest seems to be waning). I guess there is something irresistable about the singing of sweet little girls.

Or it might very well be the song. In the comments you will find reference to another version of Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo.

And the reason for this followup is this week's feature on Riverwalk Jazz, NPR's program featuring the Jim Collum Jazz Band that plays historic recreations of jazz music from San Antonio every week.

This week's show focused on the work and legacy of Harold Arlen, the composer of Over the Rainbow. Wonderful piece of listening for anyone with the time. I never paid much attention to the tune's origins other than connecting it with the famous Judy Garland rendition and was unaware that Harold Arlen, the composer, was such an icon.

Regarding Harold Arlen’s gift for songwriting, Alec Wilder wrote in American Popular Song, "Arlen" entered the field of popular music at a propitious time, one in which he could spread himself and experiment...he is fully a product of American jazz, big band music, and American popular song."

Harold Arlen could have secured a spot in the history of American music by writing only one of his compositions, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," the signature song in his score for the 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz. This sentimental ballad is widely considered to be the 'number one' pop song of the 20th century.But from the very early days of his career, Harold Arlen also wrote riff tunes and rhythm numbers that were popular with jazz artists like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. He used blue notes and blues licks in his compositions, even though he was quick to say that he didn't really write 'the blues.' At the Cotton Club in Harlem, Arlen wrote tunes for the Duke Ellington Orchestra and vocalist Ethel Waters.

In the 1930s, Arlen followed the migration of New York songwriters to Hollywood where they were in demand writing for movie musicals. In July 1938, Harold Arlen and his lyricist partner E.Y. Harburg signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to write the music for The Wizard of Oz. In just two months, they completed the score. Surprisingly, Arlen and producer Arthur Freed had to fight the studio to keep “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in the movie.

After the success of Wizard, Arlen continued to write great music for over 40 years, collaborating with top lyricists. With Johnny Mercer, he wrote enduring hits, "Blues in the Night" and "One for My Baby." In his long career, Arlen wrote over 400 songs for Broadway stage shows, Harlem revues and major motion pictures. Many of his songs, including “Get Happy,” “It’s Only A Paper Moon,” and “I’ve Got the World on a String” are considered essential standards by jazz musicians worldwide.

Much more at the link, including audio clips of historic performances of his music.

Harold Arlen Official Website

So speaking of "Over the Rainbow" here are a couple more video links that I like, particularly the last one. Both have the same music, but the story of Israel Kamakawiwo is just too great to miss.

Best Friends Video -- Pug and Toddler

Israel Kamakawiwo Sings Over the Rainbow


vietnamcatfish said...

Hootster, ( hooster is a misspelling according to the Google Gods ) you know me and the power of synchronicity. I won't go into the story, but I sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" yesterday on Father's Day! Haven't heard of the little girl or her performance, but bravo!!
May the force be with you!

Hoots said...

Great! Someday I want to hear the story.
Meantime, another version of "Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo still lifts my spirit every time I listen. There is magic in that music.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Harry Niilsen in "
You've Got Mail." Rock on Lubys


Hoots said...

December 30 update:
Connie has produced an album. Her career is off to a good start. And her voice is even more impressive than I thought.
Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Connie is our favourite surf my blog we have more about Connie Talbot.
Thank you.

Deron S. said...

What a great little girl! It's a very uplifting video!