Thursday, 19 May 2011
Andy Williams - Where Do I Begin? (1971/ No. 4/ 18 weeks/ CBS)
Karen Carpenter apart, Andy Williams is my favourite pop voice. It's the absolute lightness within the great power, so that even at his most emphatic, it feels as though he's gently confiding to you (seen here in the repeated "She fills my HEEAARRRT!")
‘Where Do I Begin?’ is a song of found love that could be absolutely appalling if treated differently. The choruses are a series of questions ("How can I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be?", "Where do I start?") that are both awed at being in love, and admissions of doubt, particularly the "How long must it last?" of the second chorus. In contrast, the verses are descriptions of rapture (a love "older than the sea", full of "angels songs" and "wild imaginings").
The doubt and the joys are perfectly balanced in Williams' reading, which is neither cynical nor sentimental. You'd want to be in love like this, though the pain entailed is clear, too.