Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Cher, Chrissie Hynde and Neneh Cherry with Eric Clapton 'Love Can Build A Bridge'

Chart Peak: 1 [1 week]

The 1995 Comic Relief single is an all-star cover of the Judds' 'Love Can Build A Bridge'... It raced into the Top 5 on release in March '95
Performers on this track are listed in the same order as they were on the sleeve - order of appearance would be Hynde-Cher-Cherry (and then Clapton). And while we're dealing with details, Now CDs of this era have the song titles and production credits printed onto the disc itself, but this is the one case I know of where there are also credits for the three engineers, five assistant engineers and the mastering engineer (as well as the arranger and mixer, jobs which get mentioned now and again). I've attached the photo of this below the jump, just in case anyone wants to avoid spoilers for the remaining tracks on the album; I presume these people took a more prominent credit in lieu of payment, due to the nature of the release. Incidentally, the arranger on this track was David Campbell, which is the closest we've ever got to his son Beck appearing on a Now album.

Regular readers may have noticed that when I write a whole first paragraph without mentioning the song itself, this is rarely a sign of enthusiasm, and so it proves again. We're back in cover-of-a-cover territory here, as the song's obvious sentimentality had already seen a version released to raise money for Rwandan children peak at only 57 six months earlier. The song clearly had potential though, hence this swift re-recording, though it is rather an odd one out among the Comic Relief singles: where previous releases had been out-and-out comedy tracks, and subsequent ones have often been upbeat tracks by currently popular acts with room for clowning in the video, this is the one single that makes no attempt at humour, although whether it actually is the least funny one is a matter of opinion. Speaking of odd ones out, it seemed at the time that Neneh Cherry was slightly out of place among the three singers as she was the only one who'd not previously had a Number One single (in fact, she was the only one of the three who hadn't had a Number One with a version of 'I Got You Babe') but all three singers do a decent job of the vocals, even though the number of technical staff involved implies they recorded their parts separately. Eric Clapton's guitar solo, which also earns him his first Number One single, isn't very interesting though, and he looks a bit stupid wearing a suit and trainers in the video. Still, he's as good as the song itself really deserves. At least it was for a good cause. I believe the Tom Jones/Lenny Henry track on the B-side would have been the audio of this sketch from 1991, though how well that worked in sound only I wouldn't care to speculate.

Cher also appears on: Now 32, 33, 42
Chrissie Hynde also appears on: Now 6, 13 [both with UB40]
Neneh Cherry also appears on: Now 14, 15, 16, 18, 29 [with Youssou N'Dour], 35

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