Love Songs Recap – 7 July 2024

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2024
“You can generate a phenomenal relationship with an audience. It’s very gratifying, a real privilege.” Michael Ball
On stage and on the radio, Michael has always been an ace at drawing in an audience. He instinctively knows how to captivate them, how to hold them in the palm of his hand. With LOVE SONGS, Michael faced a tough challenge – taking over a show whose former host was very much loved. After weeks of stepping carefully, of testing this and of testing that, last Sunday Michael seemed to find the formula. He took to the airwaves with a new lilt in his voice and, seemingly, a new attitude. He was his old self, natural, funny (even bawdy), speaking from his heart and saying exactly what he thought at any given moment. His laughter was sprinkled throughout the program, and we even got one of his famous giggle fits. So what will we see today?
“Hello, my lovelies,” Michael jumps in immediately, his voice animated. “How’s your Sunday going so far? Hopefully, it’s a nice lazy one. I like those kinds of Sundays.” And he opens with this week’s theme song “Let Your Love Flow.” I like how Michael uses the theme each week in different places and in different ways. “A lovely start to the show with the Bellamy Brothers. Welcome to Love Songs. Thank you so much for joining me. It’s not my show. It’s our show. And that’s why it’s a joy to have you here. It wouldn’t be much fun without you.”
Each week Love Songs has emails and voice mails coming in from people wanting to honor a loved one or requesting songs. They’re often moving and so beautiful, but it would be impossible for me to list them all. If something leaps out at me, of course I’ll detail it for you. Otherwise, I’ll focus on the rest of the show, particularly the phone calls, where Michael excels.
Love Songs: Perrie “Tears”; Harry Styles “Treat People With Kindness”; k.d, lang “Constant Craving”; Hozier “Too Sweet”; Rod Stewart “Maggie May”; Huey Lewis and the News “The Power of Love”; Sabrina Carpenter “Please, Please, Please”; Amy Winehouse “Tears Dry on Their Own”; Sugababes “Too Lost in You”; Commodores “Three Times a Lady”; Charlie Puth “Hero”; The Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes”; George Benson “Let Me Love You One More Time”;
Michael speaks with Dave on the Love Line, who’s on his way to Wales to see his mum on her 80th birthday. His mum, Diane, who is an antique dealer, is a HUGE fan of Michael’s, to our host’s delight. Knowing she’s listening, Michael plays for her Lady GaGa’s “I’ll Always Remember Us This Way.”
After playing “The Power of Love” Michael does a brief but adorable mock-up of this song. Sounding as if he’s holding his nose – or maybe just speaking through it – he giggles, “That’s the way we sing it in our house!” Yep, Michael is loose today, going with the flow, saying whatever he feels like saying. I LOVE it!
Back on the Love Line, Michael speaks with Pat, whose parents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past week. Michael is so sweet with her, asking questions about the entire family. “Coffee in the conservatory, gazing at their garden as they listen to Love Songs,” Pat says, describing her parents on Sunday mornings. “They still grow everything in that garden, leeks and potatoes, Mom’s a whizz at the old soup.” Michael interjects “A bit of a Vichyssoise, if I’m not mistaken, that’s the posh name for it.” Michael then talks about his own soups: “Whatever’s going a little bit off in the fridge, put it in the soup.” He then advises, “Get a soup maker. They make life so easy. Has she got a soup maker?” Pat replies, “She hasn’t. But she’s got a new air fryer that she’s absolutely thrilled with.” Michael explodes with enthusiasm “I blooming LOVE my air fryer! Oh, yes! That’s what you need in life – an air fryer and a soup maker and you’ve got it made!” He then asks Pat what song he can play for her parents. “Eva Cassidy’s ‘Fields of Gold’.” What a great segment this was – It was the return of Chef Michael Ball, someone we haven’t seen since Michael’s old show. Glad to have you back, Chef!
Michael’s velvety voice welcomes us back for hour 2 of the show and opens with Elbow’s “One Day Like This.” Michael then continues, “And on a day like this I hope you’re doing whatever makes you happy, because I am.” I believe him. He’s sounds comfortable behind that microphone. He’s home again.
On the Love Line, Michael speaks with John, who’s celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary with Nadine. They met at work, and when she found out he was going to a wedding “she kind of invited herself along, and technically that was our first date.” This inspires a laugh from Michael (it’s that 10-year-old kid’s laugh, a kind of rat-a-tat-tat splatter that we haven’t heard in a while and is one of my favorites). Michael then asks, “Do you think she invited herself along because she had … thoughts … about you?” John agrees, “She had notions to chase me, Michael.” And Michael says, “Yes, that’s it. That’s it. And sometimes it works.” More of that laugh. And they talk about the reception. Open bar. But John and his family don’t really drink much. “What?” Michael is aghast. “Well, you’re lucky I wasn’t there!” Again, that laugh! I am so loving this. Michael then asks how they’re celebrating this week, and John says they’re off in Bridgewater. Michael’s excitement builds. “This is weird. Because that’s where my dad’s from!” There’s more, but you should enjoy this for yourself. It’s such a delightful segment, one of his best. Bravo, Michael. In closing, Michael plays the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” for them (Love this song!).
Michael again brings up wanting to do a DJ set for BBC Radio 2 in the Park on Friday, September 6th. He talks about going on Scott Mills Show, who agrees he should be scheduled. Michael continues, “Why haven’t I been asked to do a DJ set? it’s an outrage. Thanks to all of you who heard this and said, yeah, I should be doing my own DJ set … well, I keep hoping … until then I’ll just keep staring at my phone, hoping that they ring me and say – (Michael dons this odd accent – it’s like something out of those old gangster movies – or The Godfather! – “Mike, do you wanta do a DJ set? Get down on the decks.” Michael laughs, then says, “I think I’ve just absolutely ruined my chances of that happening!” More laughter. No, Michael, I don’t think you ruined your chances. You just proved your wacky sense of humor BELONGS on those decks!
Love Letters. Admitting how much he loves this part of the show, Michael speaks with Michelle. She wants to honor her mum Frances, who’s been through so many bouts of cancer, Including pancreatic, but is now finally in remission. Michael plays Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” It’s once again tissue time, which will probably just be a warmup for his call to Michelle’s mum Frances. Sniffle. Okay, Michael puts through the call. When he tells her it’s Michael Ball, there’s dead silence for quite a while, then, “No, it isn’t.” With a giggle, he convinces her it’s him before Michelle reads her incredibly moving letter – I cried through the whole thing, my tissue box almost empty. But Michael points out that this moment ends on a positive note in that Frances is in remission. Michelle asks Michael to play ABBA’s “I Had a Dream” for her mum, such a good way to end this conversation.
The Last Dance. This week it’s for Wayne and Anne, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary by driving to Paris. Saying that, yes, life IS a roller coaster, Michael plays Ronan Keating’s “Life is a Roller Coaster” for them and for us. A wonderful way to end today’s show.
Any day that we can listen to Michael on the radio is a good day. Today was a spectacular day. Why? Because Michael has fulfilled his mission with this new show. He’s playing great love songs and at the same time bringing in what he does best – relating to people. He engaged EVERY SINGLE PERSON he spoke to on the phone today in a personal way, their conversations becoming a chat between friends. There were touching moments and hilarious moments. It was Michael being Michael, gregarious, honest and genuine, always adding his special brand of humor, his infectious laughter and signature giggle. It was Captain Michael Ball steering the ship HIS way. With him at the wheel, I think we’ll have a long and successful voyage.
Love Song of the Week: The Bellamy Brothers “Let Your Love Flow.” Link to video is below: