Colm Wilkinson | Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs

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Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs

by Colm Wilkinson

Colm Wilkinson, the original star of the musical Les Miserables and creator of the role 'The Phantom' in The Phantom of the Opera returns to his roots with a fantastic new CD full of great songs.
Genre: Country: Country Rock
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  song title
1. Funny How Time Slips Away
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4:23 $0.99
2. A Song For You
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4:23 $0.99
3. Suzanne
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4:30 $0.99
4. Red Sails In The Sunset
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3:46 $0.99
5. Father And Son
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3:50 $0.99
6. We Are One
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3:46 $0.99
7. If I Knew Then
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4:36 $0.99
8. M.L.K./ I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
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7:20 $0.99
9. Last To Know
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3:00 $0.99
10. You Don't Know Me
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4:12 $0.99
11. Home Thoughts From Abroad
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4:01 $0.99
12. I Cannot Stay
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3:59 $0.99
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Album Notes
To lovers of musical theatre around the world, Colm Wilkinson definitely needs no introduction. On stages in London, New York, Toronto and beyond, he has firmly established himself as one of theatres greatest performers. His definitive portrayal of such leading characters as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" and the Phantom in "Phantom of the Opera" has brought the Irish born singer huge critical acclaim, a trophy case crammed with awards, and the adoration of millions of theatregoers.

There is another side to Colm. He is a highly accomplished songwriter and film composer, as well as a skilled interpreter of songs from a wide variety of musical genres. Through the 70s, he had numerous pop hits in his native Ireland, often with his own compositions. Wilkinson's multiple talents are now showcased on his new album, the appropriately entitled, "Some of My Best Friends Are Songs".

Colm Wilkinson created the role of Jean Valjean in the original London and Broadway productions of Les Miserables, earning a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Actor as well as Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and winning the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics' Circle Award, and a Theatre World Award. Colm returned to the role of Jean Valjean for one night only in October 1995, starring in the now legendary London 10th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. A video version of the concert has since been seen by millions on televison stations throughout the world.

Colm created the role of "The Phantom" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera at the composer's annual music festival at Sydmonton. He went on to star in the Toronto production at the Pantages Theatre, from the show's premiere in September 1989 until May 1994. For his portrayal Colm received the 1989-90 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Review or Musical.

Colm also received his second Dora Mavor Moore Award for his role as Valjean in Les Miserables in 1998 in Toronto.

See below for a review from one of the most important magazines in the musical industry - Billboard magazine.

Visit Colm's web site at


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If you haven't hearad Colm before, now is the time.
Colm is a truly remarkable talent and has been for some time. His work in musicals is fabulous as are his songs from other cds. I caught his work on Public Television a number of years ago and I was hooked. If you like the theatre and stage acts, you will truly enjoy this.

M Ruby

Great CD - not to be relegated to background listening!
I heard this CD for the first time at a dinner party. It had been choosen by the hosts as background music but when Suzanne started, it took every ounce of discipline I had not to ask everyone to hush until the song was over. I am embarassed to say that I was not previously familiar with Mr Wilkonson's work but I love this CD.
I want to add that I also loved CD Baby's service. They were great. We had a small tracking problem but they were right on top of it and the issue was rectified immediately.I also found their confirming memo upon shipment to be hilarious and read it aloud to anyone who would listen. CD Baby you have a good thing going and I hope you enjoy continued success!!

Sue Saari

Fantastic CD, a permanent fixture in my player.
This amazing CD has rapidly become my all time favourite. I discovered Colm's music through Phantom and Les Mis, but this CD is very different, and even more enjoyable. I've come to the conclusion that there is no type of music that this man can't sing beautifully. He puts his own personal touch on each song, as well as the heart and soul that he puts into everything that he sings (he's even better live!). This is a must buy!! You won't regret it.


Wilkinson Returns To Pop/Soul Roots
Dublin-Born Musicals Star Releases 'Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs'

By LARRY LEBLANC December 21, 2002

TORONTO - Few would have expected Dublin-born tenor Colm Wilkinson to record mostly classic soul and pop for his new album, Some of My Best Friends Are Songs.

After all, Toronto-based Wilkinson is internationally celebrated for such music-theater roles as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in London and on Broadway, Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar in Dublin and London, and the lead in Toronto's production of The Phantom of the Opera.

But in the '70s, Wilkinson performed around Ireland with one of the best Irish soul bands of the era, the Action, as well as with the jazz-styled Jim Doherty Quartet and such showbands as the Chris Lambe Showband and the Witnesses.

"People will probably be surprised, but I wanted to do something of this ilk," the performer says. "With the showbands, we were human jukeboxes, imitating Elvis Presley and whatever was a hit at the time. With the Action, I did James Brown, Mose Allison, and a lot of blues."

Available since Nov. 7 in select music-retail stores in New York and Toronto and via his Web site, the self-financed album, released through his own DC Jass Music Group, is Wilkinson's first solo set since Stage Heroes (RCA) in 1989. He is now negotiating to have it more widely distributed.

The record includes Wilkinson's take on such standards as "Red Sails in the Sunset," "Funny How Time Slips Away," and "A Song for You," plus three superb originals and a song penned by his singer/songwriter son, Aaron. The combination of Wilkinson's perceptive vocals and the production of Danny Greenspoon sets the recording apart, but the album also features brilliantly conceived covers of Cat Stevens' "Father and Son," Clifford T. Ward's "Home
Thoughts From Abroad," and U2's "MLK"/"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

The cover art features a photo of Wilkinson outside his parent's house in Dublin at age 13, and the recording is dedicated to his parents. "They were the catalyst for the album," Wilkinson says. "My dad was playing 'Red Sails in the Sunset' on the piano when he met my mom. Aaron and I used to perform 'Father and Son' [at] concerts."

Wilkinson says tackling U2 repertoire was daunting. "I had two ideas for the track, so I went to see Bono. I said, 'This is the way I'm going to do it, and this is another, gospel, version. What do you think?' He suggested that I do it the slow way; that really brings out the lyrics."

Music has been part of Wilkinson's life since growing up in Dublin in a household of 10 children. "I used to steal my father's banjo and play it," he recalls. When Wilkinson joined the Witnesses in 1968, he began working abroad; he met Presley in 1969 while playing the lounge at the Paradise Island Hotel in Nassau. "Elvis sat four tables from the stage," he recalls. "I did 'I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen,' and I could hear him saying, 'Oh yeah, man.' He recorded the song later [on the 1973 RCA album Elvis]."

In 1972, Wilkinson took on the role of Iscariot in the Dublin production of Jesus Christ Superstar. After six months, he took the same part in the London production, staying for two years. "My mother wouldn't talk to me for six months after I took the part," he recalls. "She said, 'Do you not realize what that man did to our Lord?' She eventually came to see the show and loved it."

For the next decade, Wilkinson worked in musical theater in London and Dublin. Notably, he co-starred with U.S. singer/songwriter Dory Previn in Children of Coincidence in Dublin and performed the role of Che on the 1978 U.K. cast recording of Evita (MCA).

Evita co-writer (with Andrew Lloyd Webber) Tim Rice says, "We were so impressed with him in the London production of Superstar, we thought, 'We must give him a go.' He has a sensational voice."

During this time, Wilkinson also played cabaret/pub dates throughout Ireland, billed as "Colm C.T. Wilkinson." He recalls that Les Misérables co-director Trevor Nunn once asked him where he learned to project his voice. "I said, 'Trevor, I'm used to working pubs in Ireland with guys with five pints wrapped around themselves, screaming at the top of their lungs.' "

In 1977, Wilkinson had several Irish pop hits, including "There Was a Dream" and "First of May," both on the Release label. He issued the album Colm C.T. Wilkinson on the Solo label in Ireland. A year later, he represented his home country in the Eurovision Song Contest.

It was Rice who, in 1985, suggested Wilkinson be brought in to play Valjean in the London production of Les Misérables. Rice recalls, "They were having trouble finding someone, and I said, 'Surely you've tried Colm Wilkinson?' They hadn't. He got the role, and the rest is history." Wilkinson went on to debut the role on Broadway in 1987 and performed it last summer in Shanghai.

In 1989, Wilkinson came to Toronto to take on the lead role in The Phantom of the Opera. Initially contracted for six months, he stayed in the wildly successful production for five years and then moved to the city. "We brought 22 suitcases with us," he recalls. "I liked Toronto very much. It's a hard city to replace, because it has so much going for it."


This CD is a very interesting mix of styles and themes. I particularly like "I cannot stay" and "Home thoughts from abroad". His rendition of "Suzanne" is quite captivating, and the "Father and Son" duet really hit me since, when I first heard it (sung by Cat Stevens) I was a teenager and identified with the son and now, as the parent of a teenager, I tend to sympathize more with the father! I do wish Colm had included his "Tennessee Waltz" on this CD -- it's the best version I've heard. The CD succeeds well in showcasing Colm's extraordinary voice and his seemingly effortless ability to interpret music. The depth of his expressiveness is demonstrated over and over again. Thanks, Colm, I love your CD.


This CD is a very interesting mix of styles and themes. I particularly like "I cannot stay" and "Home thoughts from abroad". His rendition of "Suzanne" is quite captivating, and the "Father and Son" duet really hit me since, when I first heard it (sung by Cat Stevens) I was a teenager and identified with the son and now, as the parent of a teenager, I tend to sympathize more with the father! I do wish Colm had included his "Tennessee Waltz" on this CD -- it's the best version I've heard. The CD succeeds well in showcasing Colm's extraordinary voice and his seemingly effortless ability to interpret music. The depth of his expressiveness is demonstrated over and over again. Thanks, Colm, I love your CD.

Betty Alcock

Love anything by Colm Wilkinson. He has a very unique voice.
CD arrived in very good shape, as it was carefully wrapped. We couldn't wait to hear it. I played it so loud that my neighbours thought I'd lost it. Thank you.


Unique, soulful music Great listening over and over again
I am amazed at Colm's versatility and interpretation of song. He made them all sound so personal and believable. Red Sails in the Sunset and I Cannot Stay are two of my favorites but I liked them all. Colm has a very humorous side as well. How about some of those Irish drinkin' songs on the next CD, Colm? Thank you for a most memorable performance at the UB Center for the Arts and a suberb CD.

Judith A. Greabell

This CD by Colm Wilkinson is best described as unique to the artist. The music is presented with such feeling, it is easy to believe the Mr. Wilkinson has a specific memory going on while performing each cut on the CD and is living within that period of time. The feelings displayed, combined with the incredible voice and presentation of Colm Wilkinson create beautiful music in which you can just sit back and lose yourself in the sounds. Thank you, Colm Wilkinson!

Norma Davis

Some of My Best Friends Are Songs
I had put off buying this CD because I was unfamiliar with most of the songs. Bad decision. After listening to it a couple of times I realized I was hearing a side of Colm's singing that was completely refreshing. Wonderful songs sung by a truly gifted singer. Great job, guy!
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