Anthony Newley

In My Solitude

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After establishing a career as a British pop singer with a string of hit singles in the period 1959-1961, Anthony Newley returned to musical theater, writing and starring in his own show, Stop the World -- I Want to Get Off. It opened in London on July 20, 1961, and after a healthy run there, he moved to Broadway, where the show continued until February 1, 1964. Within days, Newley was in a New York recording studio cutting his third solo album, In My Solitude. Surprisingly, it contained none of his own compositions (perhaps he was hoarding those for his next theatrical venture, which would emerge later in the year as The Roar of the Greasepaint -- The Smell of the Crowd) but was instead a successor to his debut solo LP, Love Is a Now & Then Thing (1960) in the sense that it was a collection of largely downcast romantic ballads by major pre-rock songwriters such as Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne, similar to a Frank Sinatra concept album of the '50s. Arranger/conductor Ray Ellis gave these standards appropriate string charts with hints of classical themes and other well-known melodies ("After the Party," for example, began with a bit of "Auld Lang Syne"). The big difference between 1960 and 1964 was in Newley's vocal interpretation. The singer of the songs on Love Is a Now & Then Thing was a careful, somewhat tentative performer intent on getting things right. But if In My Solitude contained none of Newley's own self-conscious writing, it was nonetheless the work of a man who had spent the previous two-and-a-half years emotively performing "What Kind of Fool Am I?" eight times a week. Newley's singing here was much more mannered and histrionic, full of long-held notes and dramatic emphases. This was not an improvement over the earlier Newley, if only because the material didn't justify the approach. Happily, Newley was already preparing a new batch of his own songs that would better suit his singing style.

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