Annie Lennox : 100 BEAUTIFUL SONGS

Number 19 : Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye by Annie Lennox from Red Hot + Blue in 1990

Before Diva and before Medusa and years before Nostalgia, there was “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” Annie’s heartbreaking cover of Cole Porter’s 1944 classic. Included on the original Red, Hot + Blue album in support of AIDS awareness, the track was one among many by pop artists putting a modern spin on Porter’s time-defying songs. The song — and Annie in a cameo performance — was also used in the Derek Jarman’s film, Edward II. Not counting “Put a Little Love In Your Heart” since it was a duet, this would certainly be counted as Annie’s first solo recording.

Top 15 voters

Xaque Gruber2
Eddie Davis4
Kyle Barber5
John DesJardins6
Clem Stambaugh8
Daniel T. Davis8
Jaume Brunet8
Cameron Carr11
Rex Saldana11
Ross Larkin11
Alex Helm12
Rob Dziubek13
Michele A. Plaga15
Steve Gayler15
Ener Daniel16
Ev’ry time we say goodbye I die a little
Ev’ry time we say goodbye I wonder why a little
Why the gods above me who must be in the know
Think so little of me they allow you to go.
When you’re near there’s such an air of spring about it
I can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about it
There’s no love finer, but how strange the change from
Major to minor…
– Ev’ry time we say goodbye.

Our #19, the poignant, lush cover of Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” is Annie’s true first solo commerical release without the involvement of Dave. While she did perform Stevie Wonder’s ‘Blame It On The Sun,’ in 1985 completely solo, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” was recorded as a studio track for 1991’s charity album ‘Red Hot + Blue’ to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS research. Not only a prelude to her upcoming extremely successful solo career, the song itself fits perfectly into Ms. Lennox’s catalogue…it is a song done for charity, for HIV/AIDS research. It is a cover version of a song made mostly famous by Ella Fitzgerald, and a part of The Great Americsn Songbook. Following what would become of Annie’s solo catalogue, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” could not be a more perfect way to kick eveything off.

The song took on a deeply personal meaning, when her friend and notable filmmaker, Derek Jarman, who was open about his living with AIDS (and used his films to express this journey), Annie was asked to and performed in Jarman’s ‘Edward II’ film, (as an aside, my own personal favorite film of all time). And I must paraphrase, as I do not have the book ‘Queer Edward II’ in front of me as I write, but Jarman was asked why he chose Lennox to perform in the film. His response was to the effect of ‘if you were a king, who would you wish to have perform for you?’ No truer words ever spoken. The video itself for the song shows images of Jarman as a child, on a reel to reel projector with Annie’s face as the canvass. All the pieces (musically, vocally, visually) of this beautiful and haunting track make sense, as in a circle that epitomizes Annie’s solo careeer, which again and again, show the genius and thoughtfulness of Lennox as an artist and auteur. Nothing done randomly, and everything done at 100%. “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” is a perfect example of this, and a most worthy inclusion in our top 20.

– Dan Mueller

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