“Did You Know” that Phil Collins sang a song by Vera Lynn on a few early shows on the Not Dead Yet tour?
Yes, the song was called “If You Love (Really Love Me)”, Vera Lynn’s cover version in English of the original song by Edith Piafs' called "Hyme à L'Amour". She released the song in 1954, and it reached number 21 in the US that year. Here is a link to Vera’s version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Yup2VBKxE
It is an incredibly beautiful, romantic song. Her voice is lovely, strong and fills my heart with that little butterfly flutter at certain points when she is singing in full voice. The backing vocals are so typical of the time period and the song fills me with feelings of ”happier times”, nostalgia and a longing for the simpler times I imagine back in the '50's... a romantic notion for sure...but never-the-less. Oh and the harp being played...pure romance. I listened to her version before I happened upon a recording of Phil’s first performance of it on the tour.
I learned about this “Did You Know” fact from Brad Cole earlier this week when I interview him for #getphilvotedin, The Podcast Episode 3. To the best of my knowledge it was played on the Not Dead Yet Tour for the first time on June 2, 2017 on Opening Night in Liverpool. It was the Encore song played as they returned to the stage, before the show ended with the always show-closing anthem, “Take Me Home.” My research shows that they only played it 6 times on the tour; June 2, 2017 in Liverpool, 4, 5 and 7, 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall and June 11 and 12, 2017 at the Laxness Arena in Cologne, Germany.
I found the second performance they did (June 4 at Royal Albert Hall) on You Tube. It actually made me cry upon the first time watching it. I think in part because I have just been talking so much with Brad this week, and learning about this beautiful song from him, and then watching him play it so wonderfully on piano, with just the two of them on stage,. It warms my heart and makes me just so emotional. Here is the link to the performance, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHmfVB4lcPg
I am so grateful to San P. for posting it. If you listened to the podcast I did with Brad, I spoke about how I really did not like when audiences talk or shout over Phil. That was the case here. While he was doing the intro to this song, sharing some poignant personal thoughts about himself, all sorts of shouting was going on. It really does bother me. It’s so disrespectful. Anyway, I did not let that ruin the moment though, Phil is wonderful and my heart is with him.
I did not know much about Vera Lynn prior to learning from Brad that they played this song on the first leg of the Not Dead Yet Tour. So I looked her up. I am sharing an edited version of what I found in Wikipedia:
Dame Vera Margaret Lynn CH DBE OSt was an English singer and entertainer whose musical recordings and performances were very popular during World War II. She is known as the "Forces' Sweetheart", having given outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India and Burma during the war as part of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). The songs most associated with her include "We'll Meet Again", "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "There'll Always Be an England".
She remained popular after the war, appearing on radio and television in the United Kingdom and the United States, and recording such hits as "Auf Wiederseh'n, Sweetheart" and her UK number-one single "My Son, My Son". Her last single, "I Love This Land," was released to mark the end of the Falklands War. In 2009, at the age of 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart with the compilation album We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn. In 2014, she released the collection Vera Lynn: National Treasure and in 2017, she released Vera Lynn 100, a compilation album of hits to commemorate her centenary—it was a No. 3 hit, making her the first centenarian performer to have a Top 10 album in the charts. By the time of her death in 2020 she had been active in the music industry for 96 years.
Lynn devoted much time and energy to charity work connected with ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer. She was held in great affection by Second World War veterans and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century.
Thank you Brad Cole for broadening my musical horizons, teaching me something new about the wonderful Phil Collins and for your beautiful performance on the song. And as for Phil having chosen this song... if I didn’t already think (based on so many of his songs) that he was the most romantic man I have ever seen in real life, well this convinced me. Sigh.
Written by Traci Baker
❤️ Phil Collins
Yesterday I did a "Did You Know" post about Phil's 8 top 'Desert Island Discs.' The top song, and his stated favorite at that time, was Paul Brady's "Helpless Heart."
Today’s “Did You Know” post is about one performance Phil did of “Helpless Heart”.
To the best of my knowledge, he never recorded "Helpless Heart" on record, and, as far as I know, he performed it live just a few times, relatively speaking. He did it live on the Australian TV show, Ray Martin Presents on April 4, 1995 (the video linked to this post) and on the Both Sides Tour in 1994 where it is reported that he did the song at 30 shows on that tour (thanks to Scott Pettingelll for that update about the shows on the 1994 tour, and for sharing the link to an audio recording of the song from a show on that tour).
A video recorded from The Ray Martin Presents Show was shared as a comment on my post by a member of our group, Carol Sandland, yesterday. Thank you Carol. 🙂
I wanted to share that video here, because I am not sure many people have seen it, and because I think it's an extraordinary performance that exemplifies the emotional connection that Phil has with music--and ultimately his fans.
I read through the comments submitted under the video link of Phil performing “Helpless Heart“ (posted on YouTube in 2007). The overwhelming majority of comments were about Phil's phenomenal, heartfelt vocal performance.
I didn’t mention it in my post, but I thought the Desert Island Discs interview was very interesting, as it seemed to me to still be charged with the emotions about (and after) the brief connection with Phil’s former school-age first love, Lavinia Lang some 18 months earlier. Not overtly discussed, but since I had just read Phil’s memoir, Not Dead Yet, just prior to first hearing this interview, much of what he was saying in 1993 started to fit in with what I now knew from his 2016 book.
But that would make sense as Phil has shared that Both Sides (the album he was promoting at that time of the 1993 interview) was absolutely 'his heart on his sleeve,' an honest account of what happened that previous summer when, for a moment, he thought he could take 'one last try at something that should have gone all the way all those years ago’ with 'the love of a younger life.'
He also has shared that his two favorite albums (of his solo material) are Face Value and Both Sides. Face Value being made up of songs about the raw emotions of rage and anger that he was experiencing at the time he wrote them, and Both Sides equally raw, but with the deep emotional pangs of regret, heartache and nostalgia he was feeling then. If you don’t know the story about what happened with Lavinia, read his memoir, it’s a fantastic read, incredibly honest.
Both Sides was an album he wrote, recorded and produced completely on his own. He played every instrument. Wrote every lyric, every note. It was a deeply personal album for him, and songs like “Can’t Turn Back the Years,” and “I’ve Forgotten Everything,” (a song that came out of him so quickly that he wrote and recorded it so fast he never even wrote it down) were direct accounts of his feelings about that difficult, very transitional time in his life.
Something that stuck with me that he has since said about that time in his life…. ‘It’s not the rejection that was killing me, it was the loss.’ And isn’t that the thing about nostalgia and regret? The feeling that we lost something that was once possible? That we overlooked, or let slip through our fingers?
We all have those feelings. But not all of us have the musical gift to express it as beautifully as Phil does. And I think this is why millions of people from all over the world resonate so deeply with Phil Collins and his music. He has this rare ability to speak directly from his heart in a way that universally, no matter the language or culture, people respond to, understand and connect with.
Circling back to the video…this is precisely why I think all of those comments center around the heartfelt, emotional vocal performance. For reasons probably only Phil knows, more than two years after the few weeks in the summer of 1992 (after what he describes as the extreme highs and gut-wrenching lows of those weeks) maybe something happened to him that he was able to finally let it go? I think so. And I think his way of doing that was to perform the song that he had associated with that time and those emotions. A song he said he had listened to over, and over, and over, and in the casae of that Australian TV show performance, might be one of his
most moving live performances ever.
Please watch it and let me know what you think.
I hope you enjoyed learning about this this beautiful song that clearly captured Phil Collins’ heart; albeit a ‘Helpless’ one at times…
And it is with that final sentiment that I remind everyone why I am writing all this—because Phil Collins deserves to be recognized for his tremendous contribution to music, and indeed the world, as a solo artist. It is my personal belief that his nomination and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a good start to doing that.
Link to Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUu3XPpM5Ps
I hope you will continue to support the effort to #getphilvotein by participating on this page, sharing the link to the petition and doing everything you can to spread the word.
❤️ Phil Collins
Written by Traci Baker