Like a good book, a popular song has the potential to journey through the lives of many people.
Any song that is beloved and has different versions has many layers of being and meaning: the meaning and intentions of the writer and composer when they wrote it, the interpretation of the singers who sing it and the musicians who play it, and the meanings ascribed to it by listeners who create their own associations with the music – for whom it becomes part of the soundtrack of their lives.
A song like Return to Me has accreted meaning over time in just such a way: from its inception in the hearts and minds of lyricist Julie Flanders and composer Emil Adler, to its first recording by October Project, to its many appearances in film and television (from Baywatch to Blown Away), to Marina’s beautiful version, which not only went to #1 on the radio in Atlanta and Rochester, but also brought the band back together in a new incarnation, to the cover recording by the English band Equation (which named their album after it), to an intimate concert performance by Broadway star Terrence Mann, to the gorgeous a cappella arrangement sung by Yale’s Redhot & Blue, to the many live performances it has enjoyed by many different singers over the years.
Then there are the meanings attributed to the song by listeners, and the ways in which the song weaves itself into a listener’s life. (Return To Me has been sung at weddings, funerals and gatherings of many kinds.) Sharing a song deepens connections between friends and even kindles new relationships. Consider the story behind the upcoming broadcast* of Return to Me in The Family Skating Tribute Show. The show’s Executive Producer, Steve Disson, has a personal connection to the song by way of his friendship with singer Marina Belica, who sang it at Steve’s wedding to Cheryl, which led many years later to Steve suggesting it to Olympic Gold medal figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva. Katia then adds her own layers of life, meaning and artistry: through her skating, through being a mother, and through being an extraordinary and inspirational person who has come through her own tragic losses and adversity to create new bonds of love and partnership both on the ice and in life.
Every version of a song has its own magic to impart, and the song itself is like a key that opens possibilities in the heart of the listener who is open to receive it.
*Ekaterina Gordeeva, her husband Ilia Kulik and their daughter, Liza, will skate to Return To Me in the Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute on ABC. Here is show information:
Dates: Sunday, December 7, 2014 (repeat broadcast)
Show: Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute
Where: ABC (Check your local listings)
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm EST/2:00pm – 4:00pm PST
Theme: This “family themed” show will feature skaters who are parents, along with their children who will be incorporated into at least one of their mom and/or dad’s numbers in the show.
Olympic Gold Medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva
Olympic Gold Medalist Ilia Kulik
Four-time World Champion Kurt Browning
Two-time Olympic Medalist Nancy Kerrigan
Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Wylie
Olympic Silver Medalist Linda Fratianne
World Champion and Six-time U.S Champion Todd Eldredge
Three-time U.S. Champion Michael Weiss
Six-time Italian Champion Silvia Fontana
Three-time U.S. Champion John Zimmerman
Six-time British Champions Sinead & John Kerr
Six-time Grammy Award Winner Amy Grant