Monday, 13 February 2017

February #5: Goodnight, Al



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.




10 comments:

  1. Just dropped by your place to see if you'd heard about Al as Moonlighting has definitely cropped up here on a few occasions recently - You had.

    Nice memory of him above. As pointed out in my last post, this would have been exactly the kind of episode everyone would have been talking about the next day, but, just doesn't happen any more. Sounds as if Al had a good life though - will have to investigate a little more than I have to date.

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    1. It was a water cooler moment before I knew what a water cooler was.

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  2. You don't need to be an expert on his works, Rol. It is simply am artist with a very great voice that passed away. He accompanied me during the last decades, saw him several times live and I will miss him. Nothing more or less.

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    1. Indeed - and thanks for suggesting some other tracks by him on your own blog.

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  3. Great 'Moonlighting' memories Rol. I loved the series back then, but have never re-watched it. You've got me tempted now. RIP Al.

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    1. I think it's aged rather well...But I'm biased!

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  4. I really enjoyed this post, Rol. Don't banish me, but I've never seen an episode of "Moonlighting!" Maybe there are a few on youtube that I can check out. If the show was on TV during the '80s, I'm not surprised that I missed it. For three years of that decade, I worked six days a week managing a record store. (Any time that remained was spent hunting down 45s, etc., so I managed to do without a television set.)

    Al Jarreau had a terrific voice!

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    1. You're forgiven: that's my dream job!

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  5. Sad news. Not really familiar with his discography either. Moonlighting I I've heard of. The X-Files in the 90s seemed to borrow the idea of love unfulfilled.

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    1. I love the idea of them pitching "Moonlighting with aliens"!

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