Saturday, 16 April 2011

Go crazy is what I will do - If I can't have you, I don't want nobody baby

70's Pick of the Week

“I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “If I Can’t Have You”, Yvonne Elliman, (1973/1977)

I was watching the new Hawaii Five-O the other day....ya don’t start with me, I know! Anyway, I was thinking that I had seen Yvonne Elliman in the old version of it. I seemed to recall a version of it with a singer. Sure enough, in checking it out, there was a 2-part episode that she starred in as a struggling singer.

From Honolulu, Hawaii, Yvonne Elliman was discovered playing London coffee houses by the famed Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. They decided she should be in their little play “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene. Yvonne then moved to New York in ’71 to see how she fared in the Big Apple. She hit it big with the highly successful JCS – and did it for about four years.  The year this soundtrack came out, everyone seemed to be obsessed with picking it apart like a bug on a microscope slide.  The play, which became a movie, was surrounded in controversy by many religious groups.

Two of her songs from JCS were “Everything’s Alright”, and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”. Beautiful songs, but they certainly didn’t make Yvonne a household name.   Not yet.

In 1974 Yvonne was asked to sing backup on Eric Clapton’s:”I Shot the Sherriff” and would go on to tour with him for a number of years. She sang a decent version of “Can’t Find my Way Home” a 1969 super group ‘Blind Faith’ song. In 1977 she also performed on Clapton’s “Slowhand” album.

 In 1977 when the Bee Gees were working on SNF they wrote “How Deep is your Love” (2 posts ago) and thought Yvonne should sing it. Robert Stigwood had other ideas and Yvonne ended up singing “If I Can’t Have You”. Good call as it went to number one in North America and was the pinnacle of Yvonne’s success.

Yvonne decided to get out of the business after this and raise her two daughters. In 2004 she put out an album called “Simple Needs” and continues to perform at festivals and small venues to this day.

Bet you didn’t know that! See – watching Hawaii Five-O did pay off for me!

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