Friday, 7 July 2017

Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 'Try it and see' by Rita Pavone

John Napper writes about 'Try it and see' which was recorded by Rita Pavone in 1969, some time before Andrew Lloyde Webber became a celebrity. 

Hi Carlus,

I don't know if I told you about 'Try it and see', but there is a story attached to that song although I'm not sure of all the details. On Rita's previous website around 12 or 13 years ago (2004) she posted a piece about an Andrew Lloyd-Ebber compilation CD box-set which includes this song allegedly sung by her but she said it was someone else. I haven't hear the CD so can't say who I think it might be. 

She also wrote that when she recorded it she thought she was told it was the UK entry for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest but that didn't happen. I can't remember exactly what she wrote but I got the impression tha she thought she was going to sing it in the contest. This was never going to happen. 

There have been a number or changes to the selection process over the years, but the way it worked back then was that the BBC selected a singer to represent the UK and then invited anybody to submit songs. Somebody had the job of going through all the entrie and selecting 6 finalists which were then sung live on TV, onde per week, on a Saturday evening show with a reprise of all 6 on the 7th week with viewers being asked to vote by postcard with the most popular song being selected as the UK entry. 

In 1969, the selected singer was Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, better known as Lulu and the songs were performed on her own show 'It's Lulu'. The winning song was 'Boom Bang-A-Bang' which went on to be the joint winner of the Contest itself in a unique 4-way tie.

The second place song in the selection was 'March' which Lulu recorded as the B side of the single and the other 4 have been forgotten, but one of those was 'Try it and see'. 

At some stage a 'demo' would have been recorded to send to the BBC for them to choose the final 6 songs and I suspect that this was Rita's recording although I have no idea why she would have been chosen for this, bearing in mind her obvious Italian accent but I think she did a great job on it.

'Try it and see' was eventually released as a B side that year. Maybe it was decided not to make it the A side since the song missed out on Eurovision selection. I think that may have been a mistake but it's much too late now. 

However, in case you don't know, that wasn't the last of that particular song, or at least not the tune. Around that time, struggling songwriters Andrew Lloyd-WebbeTim Rice were working on their now legendary rock-opera, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' which was issued as an album in 1970 before becoming a stage musical and a film in 1973. The people making the film considered it a little short and requested 2 additional songs, both of which have since been included in stage presentations of the musical. One of these songs, entitled 'Herod's Song' is actually 'Try it and see' which Tim Rice supplied completely new words for.


'Try it and see' was the B-side of 'Till tomorrow' released in the UK and USA. 


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