Love Songs Recap – 23 June 2024

SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2024
When Michael was asked by Scott Mills on BBC Radio 2 this past Wednesday about LOVE SONGS: “I think I’m getting there. I didn’t expect to hit the ground and have it perfect from Day 1. It never does. It’s like everything we do. We gradually learn what works for us.”
Today is week 4, and Michael continues to grow into LOVE SONGS. Week after week, we’ve had a rare opportunity for a peek behind the scenes into how Michael works, how he goes about developing a ‘role.’ For that’s what he’s doing, developing the ‘character’ of his new show. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a gentle touch, a large dose of patience and meticulous insight. It takes the courage to try something that may not work and continue to experiment until you get it right. Michael Ball is known for his courage, his smarts and his determination to succeed. In the meantime, I’m enjoying being a spectator along this journey.
“Thank you, and hello, my lovelies. Do you fancy a couple of hours of gorgeous love songs and celebrating all the good things in life? Me, too, even though I have the WORST hay fever in the history of hay fever. How are you getting on with it? It’s rough, isn’t it?” I have to admit I’ve silently been critical of Michael’s opening the past few weeks – to me it sounded like he was reading from a script. Today was completely different. We had our old familiar Michael back, sounding like himself and whining like a little boy about his hay fever! Music to my ears!
Michael opens with Boy Meets Girl’s “Waiting for a Star to Fall” before continuing, “Oh, lovely, and welcome to Love Songs with Michael Ball. Thank you so much for joining me. Sorry if I sound a little bit dodgy but Hay Fever is off the scale this year. It’s probably all the – I just – I don’t know what it is,” Michael says rapidly, “I’m jolloped up.” I love that phrase! “Anyway, with any luck we’ll get through this all right and you won’t be going, (with a nasal “ew” in his voice), “Who is that on the radio? Because it’s me. Michael Ball. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s not my show. It’s our show. I say it every week, and with your help we’re going to fill this show with as much good news and celebration as we can. We’ll have a laugh, maybe a few happy tears, definitely a bit of a sway in the kitchen or wherever you happen to be, even if you’re at the service station, you can still have a bit of a dance.” All of this was said between sniffles. But I just want to say again – I LOVED this opening. I’m sorry you’re suffering, Michael, truly I am, but even with Hay Fever, you once again sound like yourself, speaking off the top of your head, rambling a bit but making complete sense, making me chuckle, reminding me why I so love you on the radio.
With a groan of joy, Michael coos, “Oh, I love this song,” He then plays The Corrs’ “Runaway,” which flows into The Spinners’ “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love?”
On the Loveline, Michael speaks with Laura. Yesterday was her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and theirs is a lovely close family. Michael gives his “chef” advice for their celebration today, something else I was happy to see. Michael is justifiably proud of his culinary skills. His giggle is sprinkled throughout this conversation, always a delight and always leaving me wanting more. Finally Michael plays Phil Collins’ “A Groovy Kind of Love” for her parents. I do so love these phone calls, my favorite part of the show. Why? Because it’s when Michael is completely himself.
Emails & Voice Mails. So many heartfelt and touching voice mails from around the UK. And the emails are always read with Michael’s deep well of emotion and warmth. There are far too many to list.
Today’s love songs: Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always”; Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”; Taylor Swift’s “Fortnight”; Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better”; Billie Eilish’s “Birds of a Feqther”; Joshua Kadison’s “Jesse”; Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show’s “A Little Bit More”; Sabrina Carpenter’s “Please, Please, Please”; Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes”; Charlie Puth’s “Hero”;
After playing Simply Red’s “Your Mirror,” Michael adds, “I’m not looking in the mirror because I look so rubbish. I’ve got the worst – you can probably hear – I’ve got the worst Hay Fever. If you’re suffering with it this year, my heart goes out to you. It’s ROTTEN this year. It’s on an industrial level.” Oh, how I love to hear this man whine. I mean it! He does it better than most. But then Michael gets a grip and says, “Never mind. We’ll soldier on.” I can’t help smiling. Ah, Michael.
Back on the Loveline, Michael speaks with James Skinner, whose parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. When asked how his parents met, James sheepishly admits he can’t remember, but it was probably in a bar in Bristol. Michael gets his parents Dave and Carol on the line, and James wishes them a Happy Anniversary. Again, Michael’s laugh is in the forefront as he steers the way through this call with fineesse. The segment wraps with The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”
Again on the Loveline, Michael speaks with Katrina, whose letter to Michael described the moment when she first held her 2 little boys. She also describes falling in love with her husband who had MS and, sadly, has passed on. Her 2 boys are now getting married, and Michael teases her about the 2 large hats she’s chosen for the occasions. A lovely, lovely conversation. He then plays The Carpenters’ “Close to You.”
Love Letters. Michael speaks with Val who writes a letter to her 2 beautiful daughters. Val was diagnosed with cancer, and her daughters have been taking care of her. “I’ve got everything crossed for you,” Michael tells her. We all do, Val. Michael then plays today’s theme song, “Flying Without Wings.” Okay, Michael, this one got to me. Where did I put that box of tissues? Michael then calls Hannah, one of Val’s daughters, completely surprising her, and then puts her mom on the phone, who reads her letter, which is beautiful. Both Hannah and Michael are crying afterwards, as am I (WHERE DID I PUT THAT BOX OF TISSUES???). Val then asks Michael to play ABBA’s “Slipping Through My Fingers,” leaving Michael bemoaning, “We’re already crying, all of us, now I’m going to play the saddest song in the history of the world.” Afterwards, Michael is a blubbering mess, saying, “I’m not crying. No, I’m not crying. It’s the hay fever.” And he sniffles – BIGLY!! I love these phone calls. They give Michael the chance to shine, to do what he does best – connect with people.
The Last Dance is for Al, who is celebrating his first anniversary after 10 years together with Amy. “Let’s have a Sunday sway to this,” Michael says as he plays UB40’s updated version of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.” To be honest, I prefer Sonny & Cher.
“Be safe. Be positive. And always try to be kind.” And with that, LOVE SONGS winds down on this Sunday. Well done, Michael. Each week you grow with this show, making it your own. Until next week …
Next Thursday is Michael’s birthday. We all know he’s a workaholic, but he always finds time to honor his fans. Last Sunday in Almondbury, instead of opening his concert onstage, microphone in hand, he walked through the enormous field of fans to get to that stage. It showed he was one with them, not someone to be worshipped on a pedestal. Michael lives by his own words, “Be kind.”
Well, lovely man, it’s time for you to be honored. May your special day be filled with laughter. May you find yourself surrounded by doting family, rambunctious furballs, scrumptious food, the best wine and your favorite shows on the telly. And may the coming year find all your wishes coming true. A Very Happy Birthday, Michael.
Michael’s love song of the week is Westlife’s “Flying Without Wings.” Magnificent choice, Michael. A beautiful song sung by beautiful men. Below is the link to the video:
©DeborahFezelle2024 This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC