The Jack Minor award for the best love song of the 20th Century goes to, drum roll please, may I have the envelope….
- Ed Ames – 1967
- Elvis Presley
- Glen Campbell
- Al Martino had the most successful recording of the song, reaching number one on the Easy Listening chart for two weeks in July 1967 and number twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and #35 on the Canadian RPM Magazine pop charts.
- Michael Kiske
- Tommy Hunter reached the top of the Canadian RPM Magazinecountry charts with his version, which also charted on the lower end of the U.S. country charts.
- Erkki Pohjanheimo (as Kaunein Aamuisi
Ok, Jack, that’s a pretty big award for such an obscure song .Nobody knows these songs anymore you know! Your right and more’s the shame. This is a song that should be revived every generation or so. But I have good reasons for chosing Mary in the Morning. There are a lot of things I love about this song. First it is very simple and for me great art is always simple. Secondly it evokes very strong images You can see Mary, the sunlight shining on her golden hair. She can see her ” turning to touch me “. You can see her “ touched by the shades of night and starlight in her hair” and these are such beautiful images. Thirdly it evokes very powerful feelings. You can feel the ache of love..” so deep inside me”. And fourthly it focuses on faithfulness. Mary is there in sunny days or stormy weather. Fifthly it about a life long comittment, ” all our tomorrows for a lifetime.” These are the essential elements of love. This is what each one of holds secret within us, that is the desire to have a companion who will go the distance. And Mary’s husband, our troubador knows just how fortunate he is to have such a companion and ” hold her close beside me”. Mary is treasured, loved and protected. The final words of the song say it all. ” we will share“. This is love.. we will share. For bettor or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part… we will share.
Mary in the Morning is slow, and extremely sweet and surprisingly hard to sing well. This is because every word is like a perfectly formed pearl. Words like,Nothings, or Pretty, or Mary, each is like a little poem all to itself, and as such requires a very careful, precise interpretation. And if each word is sung well,,all these perfect little gems become strung together to form a truly stunning necklace. Ed Ames the original vocalist, achieves this precision more than any of the other artists who covered the song. The parts are each a little wonder, but the whole is far more than the sum of all the parts. I chose Glen Campbell as the singer, instead of Al Martino or Elvis Presley, or even Ed Ames who does an amazing interpretation, because, to me, his version is the least pretentious and that is very important when interpreting an unpretentious song like Mary in the Morning. It requires a perfect balance between virtuosity and simplicity to be able to bring out all the beauty that is potential in this song.
I would be so pleased if some young person were to discover this song and do a modern cover, for it is great poetry, and great music and also great wisdom.
Now it is your turn. What is the greatest love song in your opinion, and please tell me why you make the choice you do. And may I be the first to wish a Happy Valentines day to you and yours.