This My Life

This Is My Life + Norman Newell

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Scan from Carl

After watching the fantastic “This Is Your Life” shows of 1972 and 1993 (blogs 5th and 4th October), what can follow that?

Only one song!

There are a few versions on YouTube, here’s a fine 1996 TV performance:-

And here she is in 1973 at the Royal Albert Hall. After two and a half minutes of joyful ovation, Shirley transforms the mood to end with emotional magnificence:-

Thanks to Scot of course

This must be an all time favourite song for most fans.

Drama, soaring melody, the orchestra in paroxysms of crescendo, wonderful lyrics,
tear-jerking expression…

… it’s a perfect song for Shirley to perform with turbo-charged power.

Everyone can identify with Norman Newell’s lyrics. Pure genius.


This Is My Life

Music written by B. Canfora, Original Italian words by A. Amurri,
English lyrics by Norman Newell.

recorded: January 14, 1968
released:
UK: Mar ’68 on United Artists sgl UP 1207
US: Sep ’68 on United Artists sgl UA 50459

Released 1968 on a single and on the album This Is My Life (La Vita).
Norman Newell wrote the English lyrics for Shirley Bassey from the Italian song La Vita. She sings this song with so much emotion, it has become a personal anthem. With “I Am What I Am” she sings this song at the end of almost every concert. It is therefore available on many live recordings and on many collections and videos. Live available for example on The Birthday Concert.

Because there are also many different studio versions, here is a list:

The 1968 English/Italian version La Vita.

The 1968 English album version with a length of 3:07, that is on most of the collections.

1978: 7″ single (UP 36502, Holland 1979: UA 5C 006-82651) “disco” version remixed by Hank Cicalo without the slow intro and verse one, but verse two twice – length 3:40. (B-side: The Magic Is You.) This version is also referred to as the “European Single Version”. Though on the collection Original Gold according to the cover should be this version on the CD, it indeed contains the 1968 album version.

1979: a 12″ European maxi-single (UA K 052 Z 82651) with the slow intro and verse one and stretched at the end which makes it very long: 6:51. (B-side: The Magic Is You.)

A 12″ U.S. maxi-single (but 33 rpm) from 1979 (UA D6007D and UA-P5007-D) with alternate vocals by Shirley re-recorded and re-mixed by Rick Gianatos. It does not include the slow intro but indeed verse 1 in disco beat – time: 6:17 (intro 0:37). (B-side: Copacabana (At The Copa))

1979: 12″ “disco” maxi-single from United Artist (EMI Electrola 1 C 052-82 734 YZ, 45rpm, length 6:08) with “Copacabana (At The Copa)” on the B-side. Despite of the 9 seconds difference noted to the version above, these two versions seem to be the same. The “disco” versions were very successful. In the Netherlands for example this maxi was her biggest hit ever, reaching No. 4 in the charts.

I have a 45rpm single with another version “re-recorded and mixed by Rick Gianatos, remixed from the United Artists LP The Magic Is You”, length: 4:25 (intro 0:19). The intro is different and shorter than on the other Rick Gianatos version and at the end it is fading down during an instrumental part, but the rest seems to be the same.

A really different version re-mixed by Meco Monardo & Tony Bongiovi has been released in 1979 by United Artists USA on UA-D6001-D (UAST-20388), length 6:15. This version has also been released on a CD-maxi-single “This Is My Life – the lost disco mixes”.

Another new “disco” version was released 1978 on the album The Magic Is You on CD and LP and on a single with a length of 4:53 (sometimes 4:51). This version is available on CD for example on the 1992 collection The Magic Is You.

And with the London Symphony Orchestra on the album I Am What I Am (length 3:51).
The Delta Lloyd insurance used “This Is My Life” as background music for one of their TV commercials.

Thanks to Ed for that wealth of information


Lyrics

by Norman Newell

Funny how a lonely day,
can make a person say:
What good is my life?

Funny how a breaking heart,
can make me start to say:
What good is my life?

Funny how I often seem,
to think I’ll find another dream
In my life

Till I look around and see,
this great big world is part of me
And my life

This is my life
Today, tomorrow, love will come and find me
But that’s the way that I was born to be
This is me
This is me

This is my life
And I don’t give a damn for lost emotions
I’ve such a lot of love I’ve got to give
Let me live
Let me live

Sometime when I feel afraid,
I think of what a mess I’ve made
of my life

Crying over my mistakes,
forgetting all the breaks I’ve had
In my life

I was put on earth to be,
a part of this great world is me
And my life

Guess I’ll just have to score,
and count the things I’m grateful for
In my life

This Is my life
Today, tomorrow, love will come and find me
But that’s the way that I was born to be
This is me
This is me

This is my life
And I don’t give a damn for lost emotions
I’ve such a lot of love I’ve got to give
Let me live
Let me live
This is my life
This is my life
This is my life


Norman Newell – a brief tribute

Norman was born in 1919 in the East End of London, and his long career in music, including at EMI, is remarkable. There will be a full tribute here in the future. If anyone has any photos, memories, information or anything about Norman please send them to me.

Norman died on 1 December 2004 at the age of 85, having been awarded the OBE for his services to British music.

I met him once in the audience at the Royal Festival Hall, where Shirley introduced him from the stage. She thought the world of him. A charming person and a true gentleman.

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