Sunday, 11 October 2009

1989 Marc Almond & Gene Pitney: Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart

Two duets on the trot at number one - how rare is that? 'Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart' is a Greenway-Cook song that was a number 5 hit for Gene Pitney in 1967. It was covered as a solo effort by Marc Almond in 1989, but a new Pitney vocal was added to Almond's original cut for the single version, although the two never met during the recording process.

A good duet should feature vocal styles that compliment and enhance each other. Unfortunately, the twin vocals of Messer's Pitney and Almond collide with the good grace of a head on car crash, with the 'odd couple' persona stretching further than Pitney's white tux and Almond's tight black leather garb.

Pitney's high anxiety yelp runs in stark contrast to the flat and strained tones of Almond, and the tension is not eased by Almond trying to raise his game to match Pitney rather than the elder statesman ratcheting it down a notch or two to compensate. Almond is game enough, and the faster take on the tune and overblown orchestration should be to his benefit, but he's hopelessly outclassed at every turn by a master who doesn't need the crash of descending strings to generate the drama; Pitney had over twenty years experience of singing the song and he sounds intent on giving a pretender a lesson in how it should be done.

Still, the song is a good one and it's quality ensures that this version is always 'interesting' even if listening to it doesn't generate quite the same levels of excitement as the pair obviously had in reviving it. Almond was happy to be singing with one of his idols while Pitney was happy to be reliving past glories with a new audience. Good luck to them both I say.

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