Bathhouse Betty was not all campiness and laughs; the album opens with the ballad "Song of Bernadette" written by Leonard Cohen, Bill Elliott and Jennifer Warnes, and first recorded by Warnes on her 1987 album Famous Blue Raincoat. The title and the lyrics of the song refer to Bernadette Soubirous, a young French girl in the mid-19th century who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary on several occasions. Bernadette was subsequently declared insane by the villagers of Lourdes, but canonized by the Catholic Church and proclaimed Saint Bernadette after her death. "Lullaby in Blue", which Midler described as her personal favourite on the album, was co-written by Leonard Cohen's son Adam and is a song about a woman who gave up a child for adoption: "I've never heard a pop song about a person who gives their child up and is missing the child... The first time I heard that song, I burst into tears." The first single released from the album was the melancholy "My One True Friend", composed by David Foster, Carole King and Carole Bayer Sager and the lead song from the movie One True Thing which starred Meryl Streep and William Hurt.
"When I was a little girl, my family didn't have much of anything and I remember this well-off lady once gave us a record player along with a couple of 78 RPM albums," she recalls. "'It's The Girl' by the Boswell Sisters was on one of those 78s and I used to listen to it over and over. I just fell in love with their sound. It was very jazzy and they were so sophisticated musically. It was just incredible. I don't think I ever heard music the same way again after that and I've been in love with the sound of female voices harmonizing ever since."
That memory was a part of the foundation for Midler's new album, It's the Girls, a collection of covers that pays tribute to many of the girl groups whose sounds helped shape the Divine Miss M's love of music over the years.
"My favorite thing about girl groups, real girl groups, is that they put themselves together and they made their own sound," she explains. "It wasn't a producer that came along and imposed his idea upon them. They came with their sound and then the producer enhanced that sound. So a group like the Spice Girls -- I know a lot of people love them and I think they're adorable -- they just weren't for me."
"Oh, how I did love TLC," she says, "and 'Waterfalls' was just a song I fell in love with the first time I heard it. To me it was always this terrible little tragedy, and I've always thought that because the beat was so captivating and the rap was so captivating that people didn't really hear the misery in the lyrics behind the beat. So I've always wanted to do it as a ballad so that people could really hear the lyrics and the message behind them. I've carried that one around in my back pocket for years and I knew this album was the perfect opportunity to finally do it."
"It used to be the love that dare not speak its name and now it's the love that won't shut the fuck up," she jokes, stopping to let out a long laugh before adding, "but seriously, the great thing about the gay revolution is that it has become ordinary and I'm happy to see how far it's come and to see the community be more at peace with itself and, I want to say, more homogenized. Even being considered a gay icon -- which was something that used to be whispered and bandied about -- has become sort of mainstream, and that's a good thing."
And whereas such may not be the most logical metaphor concerning the argument at hand, what it all boils down to is the thesis sentiment that we, the listeners, should not be afraid to fall in love. Or put more simply, as presented by Bette posits that it would be better to love, lose and learn from the experience than it would be to avoid stepping out onto the field of romance altogether.
Nanci sang that song all over the world, and I was still very much a secretary. She would call me at work from Belfast and tell me how the song was affecting people around the world. She took me out on the road with her several times, just so I could play the piano as she sang that one song. What incredible moments we shared. Me, away from my day job and in the spotlight with a beloved world-class talent. Me, getting love and honor from total strangers all because of one little song. Me, basking in the light of my life-long dream.
Julie, I have been to see nanci in concert many times throughout the Uk and I have all her CDs. I love from a distance and really like Nancis version best of all.So thank you for giving the world your beautiful song .I remember Nanci saying that her cd was played out there in the universe how amazing is that ! also love you song Good night New York and I think I will go to heaven .great songs great story Julie, you deserve your success.
Now I hadn't heard this song since my big sister auditioned with it for a high school play (and sang it over and over and, yep, over again at home). Maybe that's why I never paid close attention to the words, but this time around, when I heard the lyrics leave my own mouth, I was amazed to find that Midler and McBroom pretty much figured out the science of intimacy and fulfillment in this verse:
The heartfelt acknowledgement had the crowd roaring, but most poignantly brought Beyoncé to tears as she mouthed "I love you" to Adele. (Lemonade did get some GRAMMY love that night, winning Best Urban Contemporary Album and lead single "Formation" won Best Music Video.) 2b1af7f3a8