First, let me say, I command you to put a Post-It note over the video screen here so that you can’t actually see this totally retarded cliched YouTube video of this gorgeous song. I mean, Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men is involved at one point. Like, wha??
I listened to a few different versions of this hard-to-find song and thought this one had both the best sound quality and the absolute worst visuals — and that’s saying something. It was a Sophie’s Choice moment for me, I tell you.
So Post-It note. I command it.
Alternatively, in lieu of scrounging around for those Post-It notes we all have but can never find, I suppose I could allow you to do something like, oh, close your eyes and simply listen. Put on headphones and listen.
This song was a one-hit wonder back in 1972 from British pop band The English Congregation, featuring singer Brian Keith. (Not actor Brian Keith. Although that would be interesting, I gotta say.)
I’m in love with this song now. I can’t stop listening to it. I don’t know how I stumbled across it but I’m so glad I did. So much going on here. So much that’s unexpected. It starts off sounding like a choral piece from the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Literally, the entire first minute of the song sounds like a right proper churchy choir where everyone is singing with their hands clasped in front of their chests, breathing perfectly from their diaphragms, and making perfect O’s with their proper churchy mouths. But then ….. oh then, all hell breaks loose at the minute mark and nothing is the same. The single curl of an electric guitar slams into you and leaves you breathless. The flutes come in — yes, flutes, for God’s sake — in a piping adamant percussive. Which is weird if you really think about it. I play the flute. They’re generally not all that adamant.
And Brian Keith. Good Lord, Brian Keith. All I can say is that the minute …. no, the second …. he opens his mouth to sing, he has me, forever. I don’t want to give it away, but his entrance into the song makes me want to run up and do naughty things to random strangers. He doesn’t sing this song. He declares it. He declaims it. And while he declaims and the guitar curls and the flutes percuss, the perfect churchy choir sings perfectly behaved backup. The elements are kind of nuts, but the whole ….. the whole is brilliant.
And the lyrics …. I kind of love the lyrics …… I can feel your warm face ever close to my lips …..
Here’s the weird thing: The first time I heard this song, I thought, “I know this voice. I know I’ve heard this voice before. Where??” I mean, he did not become a well-known singer, unfortunately. So where would I have heard him? Then it hit me: Jesus Christ Superstar. I researched it to see if I was hearing right. I was.
Brian Keith played Annas in the original 1970 concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar.
(Which, in my opinion — and I do intend to write about this — far outshines the movie soundtrack).
The fact that I recognized this not-well-known singer is proof of just how much of my publicly puritanical youth I spent dancing with the devil, blasting this album in secret whenever my parents weren’t home, wailing along at the top of my hellbound lungs. I recognized this man’s voice. Clearly, in some little naughty nook of my brain, I am permanently joined with Brian Keith.
And that’s just fine with me.
So, take a listen. The English Congregation, Softly Whispering I Love You.
(The song takes about 10 seconds to kick in. And, again, I would implore/command you to close your eyes.)