Your Song (from the film, Moulin Rouge!)

In addition to directing the dazzling, colourful and audacious 2001 movie musical Moulin Rouge!, Australian Baz Luhrmann also produced the motion picture soundtrack.

Similarly, with his modern-day film adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy Romeo + Juliet, he produced two CDs of music from the film.

“Your Song” is an Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition, which John included on his self-titled, second studio album in 1970. That same year, the American band Three Dog Night covered the song. In 1991, British rock star Rod Stewart made a rendition of it for the multi-artist album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. I find both covers to be a little flat and uninspired, not nearly as lively as John’s original recording. The song has also been covered by Lady Gaga, Billy Paul, Ellie Goulding and others.

By far, my favourite version of the song is from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack. In the movie, the would-be writer Christian (played by Scottish-American actor Ewan McGregor) romantically sings to Satine (Australian-American actor Nicole Kidman), declaring his love for the alluring cabaret performer and courtesan. McGregor’s quirky and at times uncontrolled voice is delightful and spirited, much like Luhrmann’s films. Tenors Placido Domingo, Alessandro Safina and Jamie Allen add an operatic touch to the piece, though there’s more of their voices in the CD version than in the film scene… the two versions are noticeably different. Either way, it’s quite marvellous.

After McGregor’s opening lines, “My gift is my song / And this one’s for you… ” the upright bass and cello parts add a brief, foreshadowing effect, but the remainder of the song is lively, romantic and fantastical.

In October 2011, on a side trip during a vacation to England, my sweety and I spent five days in Paris, France. We took a couple of Sandemans walking tours and did a lot of exploring on our own, and on one rainy afternoon ended up in front of the Moulin Rouge cabaret. We also walked by it at night, during a guided tour of Montmartre. We didn’t find the time to see a show there, but we loved our brief visit. I would love to travel there again someday and see more of the city.

The Moulin Rouge cabaret, Paris, France, in October 2011. Photo © Steve West.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio of the soundtrack recording from the Ewan McGregor YouTube topic channel:

And this is an unofficial clip of the song performed during the film:

Full lyrics for the McGregor version are available at Genius.com.


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