The Night I Heard Caruso Sing

Album: Idlewild (1988)
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Songfacts®:

  • The song appears on the duo's fourth album Idlewild. Ben Watt wrote the war-conscious tune in the mid-'80s after driving with his dad to Scotland to revisit some of his old stomping grounds. One of the places they went to was the Holy Loch, which was used as a submarine base in World War II.

    In our interview with Watt, he told us about his experience of standing on the edge of the Holy Loch and a nuclear submarine surfacing right in front of them, calling it "A startling moment." He explained how the story of the song is more than just about hearing the Italian operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso, sing for the first time and restoring his faith in humanity. "The song is about the redemptive power of music," said Watt. "Not just Caruso - to make sense of life, to offer succor and wonder, even when life itself may seem frightening and unknowable."
  • Unlike most EBTG songs, Ben Watt sings the lead vocals on this one. Tracey Thorn joins in to sing harmonies with Watt at the 1:30 mark.

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