Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Celine Dion Covers Sheena Easton... Which Reminds Me Of A Story

Whenever there's crossover between my fave two artists, Sheena Easton and Celine Dion, I get a giddy little tickle throughout my body.

A Smoking Nun reader alerted me that a teen Celine recorded a French adaptation of Sheena's 1981 U.K.-only B-side "Please Don't Sympathise," called "Ne me plaignez pas," the second single from her 1984 album Les chemins de ma maison, with a new lyric from the famed Eddy Marnay. That was news to me. The $2.50 music video, which aired on the Sur les chemins de ma maison TV special, can be viewed here.

Of course, as any Sheena aficionado knows, Sheena's "The Last To Know," which appeared on her unreleased 1987 LP No Sound But A Heart, was also recorded by Celine on her first English-language disc Unison in 1990... and I must admit, the tepid production from Nick Martinelli on Easton's version was trumped by Dion's power ballad, produced by Christopher Neil... Add to that the irony that Chris produced the majority of Sheena's earliest hits—and with David Foster, he produced Unison.

Ah, and that reminds me of a story, cool cats. My singer/songwriter pal Tinatin has collaborated with Chris for nearly a decade and arranged for the three of us to have dinner in New York a few years back. I announced to Chris as we began, "Okay, I have a lot of questions for you and I suspect I'm going to frighten you with some of the freaky details... So if you'll indulge me for just a little while, I promise I'll then become perfectly normal."

The dinner was an amazing flood of anecdotes about both Sheena and Celine. For example, he explained that when Sheena was recording "For Your Eyes Only," James Bond producer Albert Broccoli brought by a gaggle of comrades during the session. Young Sheena was apparently so terrified that she simply couldn't sing in his presence and Neil found himself in the position of telling the powerful producer to get lost: a nervy stance, indeed.

I also asked Chris—and he pretty much stared at me in disbelief over the minutia of this—about a lyric in Sheena's song "Voice on the Radio" from her debut album. There's a spoken part from a DJ with a voiceover that I could never understand: "What's that line about 'and of course don't forget to kick the dog,'" I questioned.

It turns out that not only is it Chris filling the DJ role, but the line was a joke about a friend's dog—which was named Kick... Thus the line, "...With love from hubby Charles and all the children and of course, don't forget Kick the dog." And there you have it.