There are times when a song which you have heard time and again over many years, playing perhaps as background score in a movie, on the tele or something which you consciously make a choice to listen to, it sticks. It enters yours ears and goes and drills a hole in your brain making for itself a comfortable home. That has happened to me recently for the song : Unchain my Heart.
This song first recorded by one of the greatest soul musicians of all time in 1961 is perhaps one of the best embodiment of the genre. It follows the laments of a man asking his lady love to set him free. For me though what really adds flavor to the song is the chorus with a subtle :”unchain my heart” being rhythmically repeated in the background and Charles singing on a lower scale. Lets start with the original with the master.
Then perhaps the 2nd most famous or to some the most famous version of the song by Joe Cocker. The video is cheesy and Cocker looks like a bum off the streets but there is greater pain here, at least in the beginning. Perhaps there is too much of the 80’s and 90’s in this one.
Here is another cover by the wonderful Nancy Wilson. Its more upbeat and may seem like Shirley Bassey on speed but a female voice is a pleasant change.
Willie Nelson is one artist I haven’t heard much of but his personality intrigues me. He is soulful undoubtedly. Here with some wonderful lung power by Wynton Marsalis.
Talking about lung power, lets get some big guns out. Shirley Johnson with her drenched in soul voice brings us this powerful version of the song
Finally lets end on an oriental note, Akiko Wada and her deep voice do some serious unchaining in this black & white video.
Hugh Laurie’s version is notable too, so which is your favorite?