The Voice of the Story

The first time I watched Princess Bride I didn’t enjoy the song over the closing credits. Somewhere around the eleventh viewing I realised I was humming it through the whole movie.

Mark Knopfler knows how to compose a soundtrack, eh?

Willy DeVille’s Storybook Love was on his first album under his own name after recording for years as Mink DeVille. Knopfler played on the album, Miracle, and thought the song was perfect for Rob Reiner’s movie. All agreed. Happy ending.

When I first heard There’s Hope for You I assumed it was Willy DeVille. I haven’t heard enough of his stuff and hope to gather his entire catalog, but this song seemed like a good place to start. Surprise; it’s not DeVille but a young guy named William Elliott Whitmore who sings like his soul is 118 years old. Deep and gruff in the best possible way, the song aches, lyrically and musically. Taken literally the song is about hope, but it feels more like despair.

Both songs would have sounded fundamentally different sung by other voices. I’ve noticed with my own music that when someone I trust sings one of my songs, it can feel very different from my version, not just sonically, but at the conceptual foundation.

Isn’t music’s whole-brain engagement amazing?


P.S. Chet Atkins and Jeff Porcaro played on Miracle, as did Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher.

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