Saturday, September 10, 2011

"A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical 'Whistle Down The Wind'

Cover of the 1998 Original Cast Recording featuring the London company.
Dean Collison and Veronica Hart in the scene from the original London
production of 'Whistle Down The Wind'.
'Whistle Down The Wind' is not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's successful or well-known musicals. Despite it's shortcoming that lead to a cancelled Broadway premiere in 1997 and a shortened U.S. tour in 2007-2008, the score does boast some of my favorite songs by the composer. Though the original London production which opened 1998 lasted two-and-a-half years, this was not a considerable run for a Lloyd Webber musical.

Cover of the 1997 recording of that preceded the opening
of the show.
Rather than discussing the entire score I'd like to focus on the song "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste." Originally the song was featured on the CD collection of select numbers from the musical performed by both American and British artists from the world of pop and the stage. On this album "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing to Waste" is performed by Meat Loaf. It was rather appropriate since the lyricist is Jim Steinman who is also a composer himself and who has written several of Meat Loaf's biggest hits.

Once the song was featured in the Original London Cast recording, the song was given back to the characters and is sung by actors Dean Collison, Marcus Lovett, Veronica Hart and Lottie Mayor. The song is one of those epic rock numbers that Steinman could have composed himself. Lloyd Webber pulled out his "rock and roll" side when he composed the song.

The box-set collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber
songs that span his career up to 2001.
The version I listen to most often was featured on the five-disc box-set collection of Lloyd Webber songs spanning his career. A previously unreleased version by an experimental group called the Metal Philharmonic Orchestra has awesome vocals by Kyle Gordon and orchestrations that rock.

I've managed to see the original London production and the U.S. Tour and I believe there is still a successful musical within its framework. Critics and audiences have argued what worked or what didn't but the idea is definitely intriguing. In a sentence the show is about three children who find a man in their barn whom they believe to be Jesus.

Recently I discovered an alternately composed version of "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" with two different orchestrations on (posted below). Though each lacks any video, I've been playing either version on my iPad regularly for the past week. One is performed by the Everly Brothers and the other is by Rory Dodd whose vocals have been featured in recordings by Meat Loaf and Steinman. Some sources credit both Steinman and Lloyd Webber but this version was composed in the late 1980s and many music experts agree that these two versions has music and lyrics only by Steinman despite sharing some lyrics and musical motifs with the song of the same title that eventually appeared in 'Whistle Down The Wind.'

By the way you may not be familiar with the musical 'Whistle Down the Wind' but you are likely to have heard one of its songs which was a huge hit for the boy band Boyzone called "No Matter What" (click HERE for a video; or HERE to sample on iTunes).

For your listening pleasure, below are all the versions of the "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" as discussed in this post. Only the version by Meat Loaf includes any actual video. Links to the songs on iTunes and the recordings on are listed down below.

Version by the Metal Philharmonic Orchestra

Version by the Everly Brothers

Version by Rory Dodd (vocals begin at about 2min 10 sec)

Version from the Original Cast Recording featuring Dean Collison, Veronica Hart & Lottie Mayor

Version by Meat Loaf

Listen on iTunes:
(note: "Andrew Lloyd Webber - Now and Forever" and "Songs from Whistle Down the Wind" are not available on iTunes. The version of the song on these recordings have been included on other collections on iTunes listed below. The versions by Rory Dodd and the Everly Brothers are not available on iTunes.)
'Whistle Down The Wind' - Original London Cast (1998)
The Essential Meat Loaf
Andrew Lloyd Webber 60

Find it on


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