Nach dem sensationellen Erfolg des ersten "Footsteps" Album geht Chris de Burgh nun den zweiten Schritt.
Als Chris de Burgh sich 2008 selbst einen besonderen Wunsch erfüllte und Songs, die ihn in seiner Karriere besonders beeinflusst haben, mit seiner ureigenen Interpretation auf einer CD einspielte, ahnte auch er nicht, wie erfolgreich das Projekt werden würde: Das Album ist in Deutschland bereits mit Gold und Platin belohnt, weltweit stand dieses außergewöhnliche Werk auf den Top-Plätzen der Charts. Nun hat der irische Ausnahmekünstler des Projekt weitergeführt und im Studio den zweiten Schritt produziert: "Footsteps 2" - ist eine kongeniale Fortsetzung der Idee, mit einer Reihe von legendären Songs, die in der typischen Umsetzung Chris de Burghs Einmaligkeit erlangen. Unter anderem interpretiert er den ABBA Megahit "SOS" und die Karat-Ballade "Über sieben Brücken".
Chris de Burgh talks about every song on Footsteps 2
‘While You See A Chance’
Recorded by Steve Winwood on the album ‘Arc Of A Diver’. I absolutely adored this song, this whole album, in fact. My attention was drawn to it by my brother-in-law, Peter Morley. He played me the opening section of this song and I was immediately amazed. Steve Winwood is such a great vocalist, going back to his days with the Spencer Davies Group. I’m not certain what the lyrics are about - although I have my own personal opinion – but it’s such a positive, upbeat, exciting feel. It was a challenging song to sing as I did it in the same key – the key of D – as Steve Winwood did. That’s quite high, but I’m hitting the notes dead-on and, I imagine, this is probably one of the songs we’ll do live, because it’s very exciting.
‘Let It Be’
One of the first songs I learned how to play on the piano. I remember when I was a student at Trinity College, Dublin, they had a piano in the Players Theatre and I used to play this song there, along with ‘The Long And Winding Road’, strangely enough – which I recorded on the first ‘Footsteps’ album. It’s no secret that I regard the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney as the finest in pop music; never equalled, often copied. This song is one of the ones which takes me through years and years of my life; going back to not only playing it on the piano – but air guitar! The guitar solo in the original album version is absolutely staggering, and we’ve reproduced it note by note. I think this is just a fantastic piece of music, and it’s a simple – deceptively simple – tune. Just when you think that Paul McCartney is going to play the descending notes, all the way down the key of C, he throws in a B flat which kind of catches your ear, but doesn’t surprise me – because those are the kind of songwriters he and John Lennon were; always looking for the slightly different approach. Interestingly enough, it struck me that the expression ‘let it be’ can be taken in two ways. It could mean ‘let it happen’, ‘whatever will happen will happen’; que sera, sera. The other way of looking at it is ‘leave it alone – let it be.’ That, I think, is probably the original meaning of the Liverpudlian expression to ‘let it be’; just forget about it, don’t worry about it. So I was trying to go into that a little bit more when I sang the song. I hope people like the result.
‘The Living Years’
This is an example of a song that I had to pull my car over to the side of the road for, for the simple reason that, the first time I heard it, I was really listening hard to the lyric – and it suddenly hit me about my own relationship with my father, which was not the easiest. I stopped the car, and I couldn’t drive because the tears were rolling down my face, and shortly after this incident, this song helped me to build bridges between myself and my father. A very important moment. I remember trying to sing this in the studio a few times and my throat kept tightening up because I had this strong picture of my own father in my mind. He died ten years ago. The idea of ‘I wish I could have told him in the living years’, well, thankfully, I did tell him in the living years. This is a wonderful song by two people I know; BA Robertson, who wrote the lyric, and Mike Rutherford from Genesis.
I’ve always admired Roy Orbison enormously, and people will know from the past that I’ve recorded one of his songs, ‘In Dreams’, on my ‘Beautiful Dreams’ album - and often performed ‘Pretty Woman’ on stage. ‘Blue Bayou’ is not one I’ve ever played before, but I’ve always loved the feeling of it. I know it’s about a bayou in America, but it’s always given me the impression of being in Hawaii; of girls in grass skirts swaying gently and singing in the background. This song paints a delightful picture for me, of the slight ache of somebody wanting to go back to where his love still waits for him and where the happiness is always there, on Blue Bayou. It’s a beautiful tune.
The first four songs on the album I would say I’ve recorded close to the originals, but with ‘SOS’ I wanted to do it differently. I first heard this while I was on tour in America, and I was really struck by a number of things about it; it’s a very strong, melodic piece – there’s almost like an eastern European melody in the verse - and then, when it hits the chorus, it’s suddenly...bang! The production technique by Abba was very clever because they keep the bass and drums out until the song hits the chorus. With this one, it felt to me that there was a lot more in the lyric to come out than on the original recording. It is about a relationship between two people which has obviously been going extremely well and then, suddenly, for reasons one of the two people cannot understand, the other person has gone completely cold. We all know people that has happened to, and probably to all of us. You don’t understand what’s happened, why has it gone wrong? Please tell me’. It’s a plea for understanding, for some kind of explanation. So, we have done this differently, using string quartet sounds, but then we also hit each chorus with a big punch, the way Abba did. I just think this is a great tune.
This was originally called ‘Über Sieben Brücken’, which means ‘over seven bridges’. I first heard this in Germany, the version by Karat, an East German band, and then – more recently – by Peter Maffay, a big star in Germany. It has a very strong melody, and I’d always liked it, but what I didn’t know was that, at the time , in those days in the DDR, people had to present songs and lyrics to a panel of judges who decided whether or not they were deemed to be good enough – or non-seditious enough – to go out to the general public. The panel thought it was merely a song about a guy having a bad day, feeling miserable and depressed whereas, in fact, it was about a guy having a bad day, feeling miserable and depressed – because he was living in the DDR, obviously before east and west combined in Germany!. So it was a very clever lyric, and when I looked at the various different literal translations of it, from German to English, it didn’t actually make a lot of sense to me. So I worked very hard to change the lyric around so that somebody hearing it for the first time would understand there is some sense in it. The original lyric, translated from German into English, was obscure – but very clever in what it was attempting to achieve.
Well, what can you say? It’s such an exciting tune and, again, for a songwriter like myself, listening to the chord changes and structure is amazing. Once more, it’s that typical Beatles thing of what appears to be very simple is actually very complicated. If you listen to the original and, hopefully, the way we’ve reproduced it – with the saxophone howling away, the backing vocals and the bass line moving up and down – it’s just a terrific song. It’s a happy song. It makes you want to get up and dance and tap your feet, or whatever.
‘Time In A Bottle’
I heard this years ago by the American artist Jim Croce, who tragically died at a young age in an air crash after a concert in America. I loved his album, ‘You Don’t Mess Around With Jim’ and, in his song ‘Operator’, there is one of the most classic lines in a love song that I’ve ever heard. In ‘Operator’ , he’s ringing the operator to try and get some help in contacting a girlfriend of his and he says - ‘She’s living in LA with my best old ex-friend Ray.’ Brilliant! Anyway, ‘Time In A Bottle’ is just one of the most beautifully constructed love songs. The guitar playing on Jim Croce’s version and, indeed, on the one we’ve done, is very intricate, very complicated. I can’t play it, and I wouldn’t pretend that I could. It’s just a very beautiful song, has always been a huge favourite of mine and drew me to that singer-songwriter genre. Jim Croce was very much a part of all of that.
This is a new song by me. From the first lines ‘Waking up to yet another grey day...And I say ‘nothing ever seems to change round here’...Surely there is more to life than dreaming, hoping...now I want to make those dreams come true.’ It’s about about people getting caught up in the daily slog, the daily drudgery – but everybody has dreams. In this case, I’m dreaming of abandoning everything because I’m putting myself in the situation of having a boring, boring life and job – which, thankfully, I don’t, but a lot of people do – and people dream of going somewhere else, even being somebody else.. In the song, it’s about getting away, going to a beautiful house by the sea and falling asleep to an ocean lullaby. The second verse is very much about me, which is the reason why we put this on the record; about how I was inspired to go into the music industry, by going into a record store in the town of Marlborough – when I was at the college there – and hearing music from The Beatles, The Byrds and so on. It really inspired me; those melodies inspired me to go on and make a career for myself in the music industry. It’s a fun song, with lots of brass and it’s got a bit of a feel of the American band The Mavericks.
‘In The Ghetto’
Elvis Presley’s version was superb, of course. Again, I wanted to really have a hard look at the lyrics, so we’ve created a sonic picture here. It’s a very famous song, a very tragic song, about how people living in that kind of poverty – and this happens all over the world – have more children, they can’t feed the children, the children get into trouble and, in the case of this song, die young because they’re drawn to a life of crime. I hope we’ve done this one justice.
‘Long Train Running’
It’s another one of those songs that I do play, and have played a lot. I’m a big fan of the Doobie Brothers. I thought their song ‘What A Fool Believes’ was absolutely staggering; really complicated and, to this day, I have no idea how they managed to put that one together. I was very strongly considering doing ‘What A Fool Believes’ on this record... If I do another ‘Footsteps’ album, maybe I’ll put that one on it. ‘Long Train Running’ is a great dance tune, a ‘get up and shake your legs around and have fun with’ tune. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, I’m not quite sure what it’s about – although it obviously refers to trains and ‘Illinois Central’ and so on – but what that’s got to with ‘Without love, where would you be right now?’, I can’t quite really figure that one out. It doesn’t matter, because it feels great.
‘On A Christmas Night’
Another of my new songs. I had a very strong picture in my head for this one, about a small boy asleep, in his bed. It’s very late at night, and somebody shakes him awake and says ‘Look, look! Out of the window, quick!’ He and this other person run to the window to see huge snowflakes tumbling down. Outside, three or four of his friends are having a snowball fight so, quickly, the little boy gets dressed, runs downstairs and joins in the fun. Then they see what they think are a thousand lights, candles, heading towards the church, up on the hill. Of course, it’s not; it’s 60 or 70 people, but they’ve all got candles and they’re going to church for a midnight service. Clearly, it’s Christmas. Quite probably it’s Christmas Eve. The boys run up the hill and the people say to them ‘Come, come inside, have a listen.’ At which point the song completely changes into the second part, which is a variation to the lines ‘We are here to celebrate the birth of a child who came to the world, we are here to celebrate the life of a child who came to the world’ and the last line is ‘We are here to celebrate the life of a child who gave to the world his love.’ It’s one of those songs which you can almost feel the snowflakes falling down in, and I very much hope it gives the feel of Christmas.
‘Every Step Of The Way’
I wrote this one, too. It’s very much about my career; all the things that went right, all of the things that went wrong, the people that supported me... There’s one line that means a lot to me- ‘But more than anything I treasure friends I’ve met along the way.’ Even through the bad times, the difficult times. On the first ‘Footsteps’ album, I wrote a song called ‘First Steps’ which was about me having a dream .. ‘Every Step Of The Way’ is very much more about the things that happened to me along the journey of my life in music . It’s about the things that went right and the things that didn’t go right. For example, ‘Then there were times when all was lost, back over bridges that I crossed.’ It’s a snapshot, in song and lyrics, of my years in the music business.
‘Footsteps 2 Theme’
I asked Nigel Hopkins– who plays keyboards in my band and on the album – to have a look at the original melody from ‘Footsteps’, and re-create it in an orchestral way. I think it’s a very fitting end because it ties up this record with the previous album.