I was reminded this month of one of my favourite singers from the 1960’s and decided to learn my favorite songs of hers. I remember those slow, romantic dances to songs like I’m Sorry at the “sock hops” when I was in high school in Lachine. The dances were held in the school gymn and everyone had to take off their shoes so as not to ruin the wood floor. I also remember playing basketball, for the school team on that same floor before realizing that I should stick to football. Basketball required a more varied and fast focus that I couldn’t seem to master.
Back to Brenda Lee. My favorite five of her songs are: I’m Sorry, Break It To Me Gently, Fool #1, All Alone Am I, and The End of the World.
All ballads. All romantic. All sweet and schmaltzy. All arranged in a sophisticated style. All sung with magnificent intonation, feeling and timing. Such a big, wonderful voice from a petite, 4′ 9″ of unbelievable vocal power and depth. Brenda was born December 11, 1944. Her father died when she was about 9 and by the time she was 10 she was her family’s primary breadwinner – a successful child performer whose domination of the late fifties – early sixties charts was surpassed only by Madonna – in 1986.
Anyway, I bought the above 5 songs on iTunes and the sheets you will see here were lifted from her songs. I got the lyrics from azlyrics, a site which I consider to be the best lyric site out there. In going through them I was impressed by the deceptively simple, but brilliant, arrangements. I’ve tried to be faithful to the feeling and the chord progressions used in these songs. These arrangements work for me.
I’ll not apologize for the crowded sheets; two songs on one page and three on another. I do this to keep an already thick and heavy binder from overwhelming the support of my collapsible music stand. Hope you find them useful. I am adding the links to these songs so you can play along.
I’m Sorry This is in Bb, so capo 3 to play along. G suits my voice better.
Break It To Me Gently This is in Eb and the sheet is in C, so capo 3 again to play along.
Fool #1 This is in C; no capo needed.
The End Of The World In A, no capo needed
All Alone Am I This YouTube version is in F. For reasons I won’t go into I wrote this in G. Since you can’t capo down, if you want to play along with this either capo up 10 or you must change every chord by transposing down one whole tone: C becomes Bb, Am becomes Gm, D becomes C, G becomes F, G+ becomes F+, Em becomes Dm, B7 becomes A7.
I had a lot of fun learning these. Let me know if you’ve any questions. No, I don’t know Brenda’s phone number…
2 thoughts on “Brenda Lee – My Favorites”
I also loved Brenda Lee, knew all her songs too….brings back lovely memories of my childhood/early teens,small village in Ireland!
Thank you, Margaret, for letting me know that Brenda Lee was important to you. Back then the wide world was exciting to many. Hope, wholesomeness and positivity. We are blessed to have been young (and maybe naive) then.