Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Annie Lennox - The Diva

I first listened to Annie Lennox more than 7 years ago, while I was in Odessa. The song was 'Whiter Shade of Pale', a haunting song that still continues to be a favourite of mine. I was immediately hooked. The CD belonged to my friend, with whom I lost touch after I returned home from Ukraine, but the music still remained with me for a long time. I tried to buy Annie Lennox albums after coming back, but none was to be found.
Then several years later I managed to download it from internet. I still remember myself, waiting for more than an hour watching the song getting downloaded in Napster (those good old Napster days ;-)), praying "God, dont let the connection break in between" (dialup days, babe ;-)). I breathed a sigh of relief as the download got completed, and I got lost in the smooth as silk voice of Annie Lennox.
Annie Lennox was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, 1954, on Christmas Day. Boy,she is 50 years old now ! During her time in education, Annie learned to play the piano, flute, and also sang in the choir. She would go on to play in symphony orchestras and military bands and attended the dance classes of Marguerite Feltges who, interestingly, introduced pupils to a form of Greek Dance known as 'Eurhythmics'! During her teenage years, Annie gained an interest in motown music - listening to the sounds of The Supremes and Marvin Gaye. An interesting statement she made of this time was when she attended a party and was given the opportunity to DJ for the night. She decided to play A Whiter Shade Of Pale repeatedly, because it always went down a storm, and of course, Annie later covered this track on her Medusa album many years later!
She married mutiple times and sung in many bands. But her real fame came when she went solo.In April 1992, Annie released Diva - her first solo outing and which, for the most part, garnered critical acclaim. It reached #1 in the UK charts and stayed in the charts for 70 weeks. In the US it reached #23 and stayed around for over 70 weeks! The album included such hits as Why (which won an Ivor Norvello for music and lyrics), the upbeat Little Bird, and Walking On Broken Glass - all of which went Top 10.
In 1995, after another break to concentrate on family life, Annie returned to the limelight with an album of covers titled Medusa. The record spawned such hits as A Whiter Shade Of Pale and Waiting In Vain.
She continued her solo success with an awe inspiring and one off performance at Central Park in New York.
In 2003, Annie returned with a new album Bare (released in June), along with a sell out tour of North America, Canada and Europe. But the success of this was balanced with passing of her mother, Dorothy.In 2004, she contributed to the soundtrack of the final instalment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Return of the King. Her collaboration with Fran Walsh and Howard Shore, produced the film's theme Into The West - which went on to win an Oscar. Annie had bagged many Awards including the prestigious Grammy multiple times. Annie is currently on a joint concert tour with Sting incorporating the US, Canada and Mexico........

P.S. See some photos from Odessa here.

P.P.S. Listen to Medusa from Annie Lennox in my share. I highly recommend "Whiter Shade of Pale" and "No more I Love You's"

Lyrics of Whiter Shade of Pale :

We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed

She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

---
The source of Annie's biography given here is condensed from www.annie-lennox.com

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