SHARE

There’s always promise at the turn of the year, and memory. I’m partial to divas, and the songs here all feature them in one way or another. But they also carry the reminder that however out-sized the individual, life is social; life is a collaboration, in real or historical time. Most of these songs are overt collaborations, at least one of which (Bette Midler at the Continental Baths) being most notable for the relationship between artist, audience and setting at a moment of imagined freedom in the heady days of gay liberation.

Now, in 2018, all these songs are, in a way, memorials, too. You can find purer versions of Maria Callas’s “La Mamma Morta,” but I’ve been listening to its iteration in a scene from Philadelphia, in memory of Jonathan Demme but also as a tribute to the embodied nature of music — what people say to each other when other words fail. The finale is an encouragement, an up beat, because, for now, we got life.

Feeling Good / Nina Simone

Ain’t Got No, I Got Life / Nina Simone (live)

Medley / Ethel Merman and Judy Garland (live)

Friends / Bette Midler (live at the Continental Baths, 1971)

You Make Me Feel Mighty Real / Sylvester

Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin) / Sly and the Family Stone (live)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison (live, tribute to George Harrison, 2004)

La Mamma Morta / Maria Callas (as featured in Philadelphia, 1993)

Caruso / Lucio Dalla

This Land Is Your Land / Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (live)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email