Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Jimmy Scott and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"

I regularly listen to jazz. One of my current favourite jazz singers I like to listen to is Jimmy Scott. I like what Ray Charles said about him: "This man is all about feeling. He defined what 'soul' is all about in singing long before anyone was using that word!" He has an amazing contralto voice, which he plays masterfully. His career started in the 1940s, and has continued to perform into his 80s. He is currently 87.

Probably my favourite performance of his is his rendition of the Elton John's song "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word". Elton John originally released his song in 1976 (listen to the original here), and there have been many covers since then, but Jimmy Scott's 1998 version is definitely my favourite cover.

I realize of course that the reason I prefer Jimmy Scott's cover, rather most other covers, is simply a matter of genre. Most covers of this pop song keep it within the pop genre, and I don't care much for the pop genre. As far as pop covers of "Sorry Seemts to Be the Hardest Word" go, Sophie-Tith's cover is quite pleasant, Joe Cocker's cover definitely deserves mentioning, and then of course there is the cover by R&B band Blue, in which they collaborated with Elton John; but boy bands (even R&B boy bands) is still too Pop for me. If I'm going to listen to an R&B cover, I'd rather listen to Mary J. Blige, an authentically R&B cover. Fantasia's R&B cover is good too. 2012 X-Factor finalist Diamond White did a great job as well. One definitely has to mention the duet that Ray Charles did with Elton John. This was Ray Charles' last recording before he passed away in 2004. Nevertheless, none of these get close to Jimmy Scott's rendition in my books. He really made the song his own.

There is a cover that I do really like listening to, and it is my favourite after the one by Jimmy Scott, by Natalie Dawn, of Pomplamoose. Listen to it below.

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