Senza una Donna

I first heard Paul Young in 1985 when his song “I Was In Chains” from the album The Secret of Association was being played on CBC FM’s late-night radio; I think it was Night Lines, though it could have been Brave New Waves that year. I think it’s probably on one of those cassettes I recorded then and recently found (please see my January 31, 2020 post on the R.E.M. song, “Drive” for more on that…). I’ll have to play them and let you know. (Note: Since writing this post I’ve discovered based on the dates of the tapes that they must be from 1984 as they were recordings of Saturday nights, not Sundays as would be the case if in 1985. Night Lines was on Fridays and Saturdays, while Brave New Waves occupied the remainder of the weekday late-night slot. I’ve made note in the caption to the photo as well. There must be another tape with “I Was In Chains,” unless the song was released in advance of the 1985 album… I still have not listened to them…)

Tapes of CBC Night Lines, 1984. Photo © Steve West.

I have a few of Young’s albums, and love his voice. One of my favourites among his songs is “Every Time You Go Away,” a somewhat bittersweet tune. My favourite version of it begins with the sound of a jet plane taking off; punctuating the sense of loss from a love leaving — for whatever reason. Another favourite, today’s selection, is a duo he sang with the Italian blues performer, Zucchero, in 1991, called “Senza una Donna” (Without a Woman): in it, the singers seem to be trying to convince each other they’re better off without the love of the woman who has gone on to be with someone else. 

“I’m no longer frightened (maybe) to be livin’
Senza una donna, no more pain and no sorrow
Without a woman, I’ll make it through tomorrow
Senza una donna, givin’ me torture and bliss
Without a woman, vieni qui! (come on in!)
Senza una donna, I don’t know what might follow
Senza una donna, oh, maybe from tomorrow”

(from “Senza una Donna,” by Adelmo (Zucchero) Fornaciari, Frank Musker)

Zucchero has performed duets with other stars including Sting, Brian May, Luciano Pavarotti and Elton John, among others, though I’m not familiar with any of those collaborations. The official video for today’s song is a bit cheesy but, more importantly, is from a period where, sadly, society didn’t take enough notice about the gratuitous objectification of women, so I’m not using it here. There’s also a live video of the duet, from 2016, here; it’s okay, but the guitarist completely misses the mark on his solo, which on the studio track is very well done — and crucial to the mood of the song. So instead, I’ve provided a link to an unofficial post of the YouTube audio of the studio version.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And as usual, if you like the music, support the artists and purchase it.

Here’s the audio: 

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