Who Sang It Better – Memory

memory

Who Sang It Better – Memory

In my last of ‘Who Sang It Better’ posts I looked at Andrew Lloyd Webbers, Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar. I thought I would therefore turn my attention next to a female song by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Memory is the most famous song from Cats. It is sung by Grizabella and the song is a reminsant of her glorious past and she declares she wants to start a new life.

Elaine Paige originated the role of Grizabella and it was released as a single by her, reaching number 6 in charts.

I do love Elaine’s version of this song. In her ending she sounds emotionally in pain and you genuinely believe the journey that Grizabella has gone through.

Betty Buckley was the first Grizabella on Broadway and won a Tony for her part in the show.

I love how her ‘touch me’ at 1:30 just comes out of nowhere!! Grizabella is up until this point old and frail and fairly softly sung. This moment really shows her change in attitude and determination to start a new life, more than most other interpretations I have seen.I find her voice a bit too wispy and frail at times.

Barbra Streisand also recorded Memory and released it as a single in 1982 -arguably she is the person who made this song famous.

It is worth noting that the other versions on this page are all live and this is recorded. That aside it is pretty faultless- her tone is perfectly suited to this song. I must say I do prefer Elaine Paige – she just sounds more pained.

 

Nicole Scherzinger played the role in the recent West End revival.

I feel I must first declare my major girl crush on Nicole – I think she is generally a brilliant performer and out classes most other ‘pop’ stars. That being said I don’t love her consistently throughout this performance. At points I think her voice sounds strained and tired.  I understand that it may be a character choice but I think it goes slightly beyond that. I was also not convinced my hershifting attitude in the number and I just didn’t connect with her as much as the others on the ‘touch me’ phrase.

My favorite version of Memory is Elaine Paiges but all of the above ladies are amazing and very different. I would love to hear your opinion of your favorite Memory!!

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