… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “Beyond the Sea” July 25, 2014


I adore the music of Bobby Darin. Handsome, multi-talented Bobby Darin. He actually got me to (somewhat) enjoy a song I hate – “Skylark“. His song “Beyond the Sea” (or “La Mer“) just makes so, so very happy. The song is smooth and lovely and swoon-worthy. Just like Bobby. It’s romantic and sweet and his voice just envelopes you. Am I fangirling too much? Tough! Here comes some more.


As if the original doesn’t make me swoon enough, now we have Kevin Spacey doing Bobby Darin (who he also played in a biopic). Squeeee!!! Just cover him in chocolate sauce and put some whip cream on top. Okay, that got a little weird. He has the perfect swagger and charm and reverence to do this justice and match with Bobby. And he scats, too.


Guitar virtuoso George Benson tackles it with a full orchestra in a jazzy, big band style. During the musical interlude he pulls out his guitar to add his signature “scatting” vocalization. It sounds very different but very good. He keeps the romance and love of the song, but brings his personal style to it.


Another really fantastic version comes from Brit singer Robbie Williams. He also goes the full orchestra route. He brings the swagger, charm, sex appeal and just a cheeky sense of fun.


The version by Celtic Woman is all light and airy and full of gossamer and magical rainbow fairy sprinkles. Not my thing at all. In the video they’re all wearing cream-colored gowns, making it feel like some awkward, full-production sister wives wedding ceremony. The ladies have lovely voices but I just don’t get into this kind of thing. The song works much better in a jazzy, swingy style of Bobby and George and Kevin and Robbie.


In the movie A Life Less Ordinary actors Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz do a karaoke version of this. And, as karaoke tends to go, it’s not good. Cameron sounds horrible. Ewan is markedly better, but still not that great. They – well, their characters – really get into it, though. I have no idea what this movie is about, but somehow it turns into a big production number with more dancing on the bar than singing. After seeing this I have no interest in checking this movie out at all.


Rod Stewart took on the song for his album The Great American Songbook in which he handles classic songs that you wouldn’t think a rocker like Stewart would be interested in. Some of the songs he’s covered in this style have been really wonderful. This one is not to my taste. I think the horns are too loud and I just miss the swagaliciousness that I’ve come to expect with this song.


Now, crooner Bing Crosby impressively performs the song in the original French. It’s in more of a waltz style, but it’s so overproduced it doesn’t flow well or engage you. Thankfully Bing’s deep baritone is quite emotive.




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