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Bohemian Rhapsody
Música y Letra: Freddie Mercury

On A Night At The Opera (1975) hay una aria de 5 minutos y 55 segundos. Es el primero oficial número 1 éxito de Queen. Sin embargo, Bohemian Rhapsody primero suscitó opiniones ambivalentes de los críticos pero los fans de todas partes aplaudieron el magnum opus de Freddie Mercury en el aire y hasta la historia. Ahora es imposible ignorar la grandeza y el esplendor de este cantante excéntrico. Incluso después de su muerte repentino en 1.991, esta primera obra maestra apela a una nueva generación de los amantes de la música, siguiendo la nueva puesta en venta en la pista del sonido de Wayne´s World (1.992). Incluso hoy en día el éxito invariablemente compite para la primera fila en los Primeros 100 de Todos los Tiempos.Helmut: "Bohemian Rhapsody está también en mis Primeros 5 de Todos los Tiempos. Brillante. Como Freddie Mercury. Es una cosa estraña que ahora, después de tantos años, hemos llegado a comprender cómo esta canción llega cerca a una confesión indirecta a su madre."


Hotel California
Música y Letra: Don Felder, Donald Henley & Glenn Frey

Ni The Flying Burrito Brothers ni Poco tuvieron éxito en su intención de unificar el Rock y el Country. Durante la mitad de la década de los setenta The Eagles hicieron de esto su especialidad. En esta banda donde un ego es más grande que el otro, el 1.976 es el año de Don Henley. El batería es el principal creador del concepto detrás de Hotel California, el disco más característico de The Eagles. La condición del Hotel de Beverly Hills se extiende más allá del hotel, a la situación en Hollywood, a la vida en California e incluso aún más a las idas y venidas del capitalismo occidental en general.Helmut: "Y así que Hotel California es también acerca de nuestra mente y nuestros deseos tanto como la casa con las orgías más sucias que se describen en la canción. Por eso he decidido enfatizar la manera en la que se cuenta y las espléndidas frases se vienen al frente. Somos todos prisioneros aquí, de nuestro propio deseo. Prisioneros de nuestro propio deseo? ¡ Magnífico !"

 popbio03 Crying
Música y Letra: Roy Orbison & Joe Melson

Black clothes, dark glasses, Bryl cream quiff. Impressive tragedy in seemingly simple songs. About loneliness and romance. The Big O, Roy Orbison is undoubtedly the Caruso of rock¹n¹roll, proclaimed "the best singer of us all" by Elvis Presley in the sixties. In the eighties up to his death when he was 52 years old in 1988, a Travelling Wilbury at the side of  George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynn. Recovering from pain in the seventies, about which he wrote so many horrifying songs.Helmut: "With his typical voice Orbison was an unequalled creator of melancholic songs. But I especially love Crying in the tragic version of Don McLean (1980)."

 popbio04 A Whiter Shade of Pale
Música y Letra: Keith Reid & Gary Brooker

At first the boys of Procol Harum pretend not to have a clue when in 1966 they take the world by storm with  A Whiter Shade Of Pale. One of the best and most lyrical pop songs ever but undoubtedly indebted to  Air for the G-String, also known as Orchestral Piece N°3 or Ouverture in D written by, yes indeed, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Especially in the arrangement from the German violinist August Wilhelmj, as recorded in 1871, Gary Brooker served as a guideline.Helmut: "I always tend to see shades when hearing the pure psychedelic text. But with the instrumental, orchestral and plain Bach intermezzo, we definitely return to the origin of our Classic adventure."

 popbio05 The House of the Rising Sun
Música: P.D. - Letra: Alan Price

Nobody knows where The House Of The Rising Sun is or was located. Is it a brothel or rather the contrary, a house of detention? It is a fact that there were lots of Houses Of The Rising Sun in the New Orleans of before W.W. I.  When the song that is related to Lord Barnard And Lady Musgrove, a folk song from Suffolk in England, is attributed to Ashley & Foster, it is about this recording known already since 1934 and undoubtedly a black blues traditional, as such also known as The Rising Sun Blues. In the late fifties Woodie Guthrie pushed the door wide open for Bob Dylan (1962), Marianne Faithfull (1964), Joan Baez (1965), Nina Simone (1966), Dolly Parton (1981), Frank "Fad Gdget" Tovey (1989), Tracy Chapman (1990) and so many other singers, among which The Animals (1964), who still live in our memory.Helmut: "To express your suffering, you do not need to shout. By arranging The House Of The Rising Sun as a slow waltz, we create the impression of a troubadour telling the story. In this case the story is not that mystical but it makes a lasting impression."

 popbio06 Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
Música y Letra: Otis Redding & Steve Cropper

When in December 1967 the plane with The Bar-Keys crashes, a key figure of Memphis soul also dies. This was the man who got his breakthrough thanks to Booker T & The MGs and who is adored by the  Rolling Stones.  Otis Redding is 26 years old and (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay gives him his first number 1 hit posthumously.Helmut: "You can't touch such a splendid song! And yet I did this my way without hesitation. I for instance don't whistle. But you can hear the gulls sing in the guitar. Flutes are rippling waves. The sea gurgles in the melody.  Languorously singing about doing nothing, wondering what sense there is in what we're doing, realising that nothing ever changes and shrugging off anyone who comes to tell you what to do. I love it!"

 popbio07 Nights in White Satin
Música y Letra: Justin Hayward

Already in 1967 - attempting to reconcile religion, rock and Rimsky-Korsakov - the London Festival Orchestra conducted by Peter Knight is approached to give shape to the artistic aspirations of The Moody Blues.  These are revolutionary times, of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers. With Days Of Future Passed The Moody Blues have created a pop opera with a historic finale: Nights In White Satin, sprouted from the pen of singer/guitarist Justin Hayward in a mere four minutes a year before.Helmut: "Such a beautiful song, so stylish. And according to the spirit of the time it displays a mystical sense, giving it a beauty not affected by time. But more specifically, Nights In White Satin runs like the waves, like any night in white satin should."

 popbio08 Mandy
Música y Letra: Scott English & Richard Kerr

Brandy is about a dog gone astray,  Mandy about a love lost. This is not the Scott English original from 1972 but the Barry Manilow adaptation which was an American number 1 hit in 1975.Helmut: "Until I heard the arrangement from Wim Bohets, I was not an absolute fan of this song. But our acoustic guitar, where the piano used to be, makes Mandy much more intimate and open to an engaging  crescendo. It has now become one of my favourites of Pop Classics In Symphony. A moment to make your flesh creep. As it tells very adequately almost tangibly of how love can be destroyed by the world and everything in its way."

 popbio09 When a Man Loves a Woman
Música y Letra: Calvin Lewis & Andrew Wright

When producers Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene hear the friendly Percy Sledge sing Why Did You Leave Me Baby in a club, they have only one question: this surely deserves a much better text, doesn't it? Only much later the legal struggle about royalties starts and to which extent did Percy Sledge invent the heartbreaking text of When A Man Loves A Woman on the tune from bass player Lewis and pianist Wright. Whatever the truth, some quarter of a century after the original from 1966, Michael Bolton again scores an American number 1 hit with this song.Helmut: "When A Man Loves A Woman is an irresistible and pleasant slow with the everlasting truth: love is blind. About losing oneself and then doing the same all over again, against better judgement."

 popbio10 Danny Boy (Duet with Cliff Richard)
Música y Letra: P.D.

This melody is first published not later than in 1855, albeit without title and with the indication that one Jane Ross from Derry had made it public. It soon got the title Londonderry Air or Air from County Derry. Half a century later Fred Weatherly writes a libretto on it, to be sung only by the finest voices. Since the first recording by Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1918, it has been immortalised only by the greatest: from the Irish tenor John MacCormack (1920) to Glen Miller (1940) and Bing Crosby (1947), Harry Belafonte (1957), Jim Reeves (1961), Count Basie (1962), Jerry Lee Lewis (1963), Patti LaBelle (1964) and Jackie Wilson (1965), to Thin Lizzy (1979) and indeed  Helmut Lotti on his Helmut Lotti goes Classic, The Final Edition (1998).Helmut: "Quite intriguing how nobody knows who this Danny really is. Just a boy, a son, a boyfriend, a blood brother, a lover? Who shall tell? But this probably accounts for the many uses of the song at all occasions. Maybe I think that especially Mario Lanza¹s Danny Boy is making an impression. But I want to add another version. Danny Boy has never been re-written into a duet. The fact that I have been able to record this special approach together with Sir Cliff Richard, a monument in pop history, fills me with pride."

 popbio11 He ain't Heavy He's my Brother
Música: Robert Scott - Letras: Sidney Russell

In spite of Graham Nash's leaving The Hollies keep scoring hits one after the other in the late sixties, such as He Ain¹t Heavy, He¹s My Brother tempting many others into covering it later on, like Neil Diamond (1970), Olivia Newton-John (1976), The Housemartins (1986) or Bill Medley (1988, in the film Rambo III).Helmut: "Why would you not share your strength with the weaker on the road and drag them along for a while? With such a subject you need harmony with glissando voices, just like The Hollies did."

 popbio12 Eloise
Música y Letra: Paul Ryan

The identical twins Paul and Barry Ryan enjoyed some common successes when they were teen-agers, before they each went their own way. Paul disappears from the spotlights to write songs and Barry comes to the fore. This new way of co-operating immediately gets them their first hit in October 1968. Barry's first "solo hit" Eloise is a picture of a well-wrought pop song, which in 1986 even got the remarkable approval from a punk band, The Damned.Helmut: "I have this thing about this kind of unashamed and pompous pathos in which you almost hear the Russian Red Army march along, fiercely led by Meat Loaf. I admit, today the original Eloise sounds a bit dated. At that time everything was recorded together on tape. Nowadays music sounds more strict and less chaotic. Nevertheless it remains the dramatic story of someone who´s mad of love and cries it out."

 popbio13 Proud Mary
Música y Letra:John Fogerty

Proud Mary appears in any quiz as one of the oddities on pop history. This hit from 1969 is indeed an exceptional millionseller and together with Born On The Bayou a single with double A-face. Just to be clear: that hit is then and there to be awarded to C.C.R. or Creedence Clearwater Revival.Helmut: "Ah, this song from Ike & Tina Turner! It is surely the first reaction of most. I myself prefer the original from C.C.R. That's why we have given the song a nice and fat swing, pushing it off with a bang. I want to see that gigantic ship with those enormous wheels leave and move in all its splendour. This picking up speed cannot go too quickly and it cannot slip either. You must keep on dancing. This is quite possible in this version as it almost is a disco version."


I'm Sailing
Música y Letra: Maurice Gavin Sutherland

The original from 1972 absolutely falls into oblivion when three years later Rod Stewart launches Sailing into the hit parades. The drunk with the sandpaper voice is about to split with The Faces and to marry Britt Ekland.Helmut: "Nothing tangible really happens in this song, besides a display of vastness. A listener will soon ask the question if the I-figure wants to go to God or just home. But this is what makes it funny to tackle the song together with a children's choir."

Al Comienzo

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