I first heard this song not in its original form but as a Russian language “remix” by Sergej Minaev, whose repertoire in the late 80s consisted largely of jocular takes on popular foreign songs. Not translations to any degree, his numbers normally used only a key refrain or an image from the original song to make it appear to the non-English-speaking masses as being a Russian version of the original. The music was entirely expropriated. Among the songs that I have already posted in this series that Minaev thus “parodied” were Modern Talking’s Brother Louie, Gipsy Kings’ Bamboleo, Kaoma’s Lambada, Status Quo’s In the Army Now, plus many others, all the way to Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water.
The Violin was different. First of all, it was not a funny number, but rather an emotional piece. Second, its lyrics had absolutely nothing to do with those of Careless Whisper, except the faintest connotation of a loss.
If I have to think of a reason why George Michael’s song stands out as a reminder of my high school years, that must be it. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but think back to Minaev’s version, and then invariably recall something about me as a teenager. Regardless of the reasons, though, it is one of my favorite melodies.
For anyone interested in what Minaev’s version sounded like – I’m sure my Russian readers will enjoy it considerably more than the rest of my audience – I’m including that as well.
I actually love Wham’s first album. It had some great and catchy songs and pretty good videos. After that – meh. I also like Michael’s “Faith” album. Michael has a good voice that quite frankly has been wasted on a lot of the material he’s recorded.
I enjoyed Minaev’s version even though I’m clueless about the lyrics.
As it frequently happens with these “one-song” favorites of mine, I am very much unfamiliar with Michael’s other work.
The Russian lyrics, by the way, run along the lines of worshiping the violin and ecstasy and pain that come with playing it, while having to part with it forever afterwards. If I ever suspected Minaev of being “deep”, I’d say that it is a nice allegory on the theme of star-crossed lovers.
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