Max Cryer, well-known televison personality, entertainer and author of books on New Zealand words and idioms and on the national anthem, has had the inspired idea of putting together a book on the stories behind popular songs. Love me tender is full of surprising facts about how the most standard of the standards were written but it doesn’t go into what makes a song attractive to many different types of singer.
My Way came immediately to mind, what with Sid Vicious‘ version being preferred over Frank Sinatra‘s by outgoing Parliamentarian Katherine Rich . How could I have imagined when the news of Sid’s death came through to the British Hotel in Lyttelton in 1979 and we all raised a glass to his memory that 30 years later he would be name-checked in a positive way in the debating chamber of the New Zealand Parliament.
Few could deny that Sid was cool in a doomed sort of way and his fashion stylings were infinitely superior to Frank’s but hoping some of his cool would rub off by claiming his version of anything was better than one of the singers of the twentieth century seems a tad desperate to me.
It’s pretty certain that none of Sid’s songs will be in Love Me Tender but it may be possible to ask Max Cryer which version of My Way he prefers, as he will be sharing songs and stories from the book at South Library on the 20th of October at 12 pm. To book phone 03 941 7923.