Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I’ll Close My Eyes -- Dinah Washington

I’ll Close My Eyes (1945)
Performed by Dinah Washington (1962)
Music by William Gordon Reid; lyrics by Buddy Kaye

Heaven sends a song through its doors
Just as if it seems to know I'm exclusively yours
Knowing this, I feel but one way.
You will understand it, too, in these words that I say:
I'll close my eyes to everyone but you,
And when I do, I'll see you standing there.
I'll lock my heart to any other caress.
I'll never say yes to a new love affair.
Then I'll close my eyes to everything that's gay
If you are not there to share each lovely day
And through the years in those moments when we're far apart,
I'll close my eyes and I'll see you with my heart.

Tragically, Dinah Washington (1924-1963) died from an accidental overdose of diet pills and alcohol at the age of 39 in December of 1963. She had been a successful blues, jazz and gospel singer. Her penetrating voice, excellent timing, and crystal-clear enunciation added her distinctive style to every piece she recorded.

She made a strong impression at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, but the 1959 release of “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” was the track for which Washington won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance; the song was her biggest hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

She was married seven times, and divorced six times while having several lovers, including Quincy Jones, who was then her young arranger. She was known to be imperious and demanding in real life, but audiences adored her. In London she once declared, “…there is only one heaven, one earth and one queen…Queen Elizabeth is an impostor”, but the crowd loved it!

An up-tempo instrumental version:

Performed by guitarist Dave Wilkinson, drummer Caspar St. Charles and organist Abel Boquera at the Bel-Luna Jazz Club, Barcelona (Spain), July 13, 2006.

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