5. Bob James, David Sanborn & Al Jarreau - Since I Fell For You
Farewell then to Al Jarreau, who passed away on Sunday, aged 72. I won't pretend to be the biggest expert on his work (I'm not going to attempt a Top Ten), but there are two recordings of his I will treasure forever. Both are from the soundtrack to the TV show Moonlighting, and I've explained my teenage obsession with that show in previous posts. Of course, Al recorded (and co-wrote) the Nile Rodgers-produced theme tune, which brings memories flooding back whenever I hear it. But there's another, lesser-known song he also recorded for the soundtrack which I love even more.
Since I Fell For You was written in 1945 by Buddy Johnson and has been recorded many, many times since by everybody from Van Morrison to Glen Campbell, Fontella Bass to The Rascals. But though I've heard a number of other versions, nothing comes close to this collaboration between Al Jarreau and jazz heroes Bob James and David Sanborn. And that's all down to the first time I heard it...
Towards the end of the third series of Moonlighting, the "will they, won't they?" dynamic between Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis was reaching its peak. Episode 11 was titled Blonde On Blonde, and it is possibly my favourite episode of any television show ever. A bold claim, perhaps, but I vividly remember the first time I watched it, my reaction to the final scene, and how fortunate I felt to have recorded it on VHS so that I could watch it again and again and again... until the tape wore out and I had to buy the series on DVD.
In the episode, David Addison (Willis) becomes insanely jealous when he realises his business partner Maddie Hayes might be heading off to find a stranger for a one night stand. He follows her all across town to "protect" her, but ends up following the wrong blonde and gets arrested for a murder he didn't commit in the process. Willis has never been funnier and Glenn Gordon Caron's script is bursting with cracking one liners I now know off by heart. While in the police station holding cell, David meets the "wrong" blonde he's accidentally been following who confesses to the murder herself and also persuades David to tell Maddie just how he feels. Released from custody, David hot foots it over to Maddie's house late at night, in the pouring rain, to profess his love. As he knocks, he - and the viewers - feel the weight of three season's build up... and then, Mark Harmon opens the door.
This is the moment teenage Rol sat up in bed and screamed at the TV: "Nooooo!"
Fade up Al Jarreau over the closing credits...
Moonlighting ran for another couple of seasons and I loved every episode, even the duff ones, but it was never as good as this again.