Michael Ball – Very Best Of Past & Present

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Michael Ball is one of Britain’s leading musical theatre stars, multi-platinum recording artist, TV and radio presenter and Olivier Award winner celebrates 25 years in music and theatre in 2009.

Some of Michael’s best known songs are included on the album which spans an incredible career in the worlds of theatre and music; from his West End debut in Les Miserables in 1985 to his Olivier Award winning performance as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, this absolute must-have collection also features six brand new recordings from Kismet, Hairspray and An Evening With Michael Ball at the BBC Proms in 2007.

The album opens with The Impossible Dream, a great favourite with concert goers and taken from the Broadway production and film Man From La Mancha. It’s the first time Michael’s ever recorded it.  And at last record buyers will be able to have their own copy of the brand new and only recording of Michael and the West End cast of Hairspray performing You Can’t Stop The Beat, the showstopping finale that always gets the audience dancing.

Other new recordings include This Is My Beloved/Stranger In Paradise from Kismet in which Michael made his 2007 debut with the ENO in the leading role as Hajj/The Poet – and for which he garnered universal critical acclaim.  He sang This Is My Beloved in the show – here he ‘steals’ the lyrical, romantic Stranger In Paradise sung in the opera/show/film by the Prince.

The Prayer is the duet performed by Michael and the Olivier Award winning actress and singer, Laura Michelle Kelly onstage at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2007 at An Evening With Michael Ball at the BBC Proms – it was the first time an entire evening had been given to a non-classical singer in the history of the Proms.   The song won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for Carole Bayer Sager who wrote it for the 1998 animated film Quest For Camelot.

Michael’s many West End and Broadway credits are represented here; from his 1985 debut as Marius in Les Miserables he sings the beautiful Empty Chairs, Empty Tables (which he recently performed on ITV’s South Bank Show Awards), All I Ask Of You (1986) from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and Love Changes Everything (1989) Michael’s chart topping song from Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love in which Michael starred in the West End and on Broadway. Two of Michael’s concert favourites are Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard and the Rice/Lloyd Webber composition Gethsamene from the 1972 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar which appears on Michael’s 1999 album, Live At The Albert Hall.

The Boy From Nowhere, from the 1991 musical Matador was originally recorded for Michael’s ‘Centre Stage’ album in 2001; Tell Me It’s Not True is from Willy Russell’s enduring musical, Blood Brothers, while This Is The Moment, another of Michael’s fans’ favourites, is taken from the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde and The Winner Takes It All from Mamma Mia was originally written and recorded by Abba for their 1980 Super Trouper album.

Garth Brooks’ lyrical pop song, If Tomorrow Never Comes was originally recorded by Michael for his 2000 album, ‘This Time It’s Personal’, and Freddie Mercury’s dramatic, poignant The Show Must Go On is a massive favourite at Michael’s concerts.  Michael’s 1992 Eurovision entry, One Step Out Of Time, was recorded live at (fill in here) and his own composition, Just When, was originally recorded for his ‘This Time It’s Personal’ album.

One of Michael’s favourite American composers is the legendary Stephen Sondheim from whose huge canon of work Michael has chosen to record Loving You from the musical Passion, Being Alive from the underrated 1972 musical, Company and the glorious ballad Not While I’m Around from Sweeney Tod which is actually sung by the lead character, Mrs Lovett, and most recently performed by Helena Bonham Carter in the movie.  Michael swears he didn’t wear one of Edna’s dresses when he recorded this one…