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Memory

by

Elaine Page



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is from the 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. It is sung by the character Grizabella briefly in the first act and in full at the climax of the show. Grizabella is a very old, dishevelled cat who in this song harks back to her days as a glamorous dancer and declares her wishes to start a new life.
The lyrics for Cats were written by the English film and theatre director Trevor Nunn. He based them on T.S. Eliot's 1939 collection of poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Grizabella is not mentioned in the book, however Eliot's widow Valerie gave Nunn an unpublished eight line poem by Eliot called "Grizabella the Glamour Cat." It has also been said that she is a feline version of a woman, who is mentioned in Eliot's poem Rhapsody on a Windy Night.
Andrew Lloyd Webber was originally nervous about this song's tune as he was concerned that it was similar to one of Puccini's. He was afraid of being accused of plagiarism and played it to several people, the last of whom was his father, the composer William Lloyd Webber. Andrew asked him, "Does this sound like anything to you?" His father replied, "Yes. It sounds like $5 million!"
Elaine Page was the original Grizabella in the London West End production of Cats. She also recorded the music video and the single release. Page first became known for her lead role in the original production of Evita. This was her most successful recording as a solo artist, though she achieved a UK #1 with "I Know Him So Well," which was a duet with Barbara Dickson.
Betty Buckley was the first to play Grizabella on Broadway and the singer won a 1983 Tony for outstanding achievement in the theater for her performances. The Broadway show won seven Tonys in total in 1983, including the one for Best Musical.
Among the many other artists to have recorded this song have been Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford.
Internet sensation Susan Boyle sang this for her semi-final appearance on Britain's Got Talent.
Elaine Page
More Elaine Page songs
More songs used in plays
More songs inspired by poems
More songs about looking back on fond memories
More songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber
More songs covered by the Glee cast

Comments (2):

On February 14th 1982, "Memory" by Barbra Streisand entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; eventually it peaked at #52 and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
And exactly nine months later to the day; on November 20th, 1982, Barry Manilow's covered version entered the Top 100 at position #79; and on January 9th, 1983 it reached #39 (for 2 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
And on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart; Mr. Manilow's version peaked at #8 while Ms. Streisand's reached #9.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Barbra Streisand recorded the song before it came to Broadway and Barry Manilow's version made it into the Top 10.
- Sara, Silver Spring, MD
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