Solitaire (Laura Branigan song)

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"Solitaire"
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Branigan 2
B-side "I'm Not The Only One" (7" single)
"Squeeze Box" and "If You Loved Me" (European 12" single)
Released March 1983
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Pop rock, Europop
Length 4:00 (7" single)
5:16 (12" single)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Martine Clemenceau, Diane Warren
Producer(s) Jack White, Robbie Buchanan
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"Gloria"
(1982)
"Solitaire"
(1983)
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
(1983)

"Solitaire" is the title of a 1983 hit single by Laura Branigan.

Background[edit]

The song originated as a 1981 recording in French by Martine Clémenceau for whom "Solitaire" was a modest hit with a French chart peak of #50 on the French pop charts where it remained for 22 weeks.[1] Written by Clemenceau herself, the French version of "Solitaire" concerned a recluse who shuts himself away from a world moving toward nuclear war. The English lyrics of "Solitaire" reinvent the song's narrative, with the playing of the card game solitaire employed as a metaphor for the singer enduring the neglect of her lover. "Solitaire" would launch the hitmaking career of Diane Warren who had recently been employed as a staff writer by Branigan's producer Jack White; Warren gave White the completed lyrics for "Solitaire" the day after he asked her to give the song an English rendering.[2]

Laura Branigan recording[edit]

The lead single from the Branigan 2 album, "Solitaire" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the week Branigan's breakthrough hit "Gloria" fell off the chart; with a #7 peak "Solitaire" became Branigan's second consecutive Top Ten hit.[3] A chart item on Billboard's Adult Contemporary and Dance charts at respectively #16 and #28, "Solitaire" was an international success with hit status in several territories where "Gloria" had been a success - see chart below - a significant exception being the UK.

The verses begin low and restrained, with the melody's theme repeated in ever-higher variations throughout the pre-chorus and chorus, climaxing in three high, sustained belts of "Solitaire". The song's rangy melody and dramatic refrain appealed to Branigan and producers Jack White and Robbie Buchanan, who extended the original arrangement to revolve back to one last refrain, giving Branigan a triumphant, sustained final note in keeping with the new lyrics by Warren, which have Branigan turning the tables on a neglectful lover and getting on with a life she had put on hold for him. The note is a mere two seconds shy of the world record for longest note held by a female singer in a hit Pop song, which is held by Donna Summer in "Dim All the Lights" (which was covered by Branigan in 1995).

Promotion[edit]

Branigan promoted the song with appearances on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and The Merv Griffin Show, among others. The song's dramatic, theatrical style and range was a vocal showcase, and it was not uncommon for talent show contestants, such as those on Star Search, to tackle "Solitaire". It was a favorite of a very young Celine Dion, who performs the song in a rare televised clip.

While the video for "Gloria" had simply been a straightforward performance clip, "Solitaire" was promoted with an elaborately produced video depicting the song's narrative: after being abandoned by her male companion Branigan is shown recording in a studio and somewhat occupied with the trappings of fame and career, but otherwise spending her free time alone and frustrated. When her errant companion attempts a reconciliation Branigan walks away pausing to flip him a pack of cards which he stoops to gather up.

An Atlantic 12" featured an extended version of the song that ran 5:16 in length; Hot Tracks, a popular DJ remix service of the time, produced their own extended remix as well, which ran to 7:02 and clocked in at 140 BPM. The song was re-released by Atlantic in the U.S. as an "Oldies Series" single in the mid-1980s, backed with "Gloria". In Europe, the song saw limited release as a 12" single backed with "Gloria". In addition to Branigan 2, which went out of print in 2004, the single version of "Solitaire" appears on 1995's The Best of Branigan (re-released in 2007), 2002's The Essentials: Laura Branigan, and 2006's The Platinum Collection.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australia 5
Canada 8
New Zealand 12
US Billboard Hot 100 7

Other versions[edit]

In 1982 "Solitaire" had been rendered in German as "Immer Mehr" and recorded by Milva; another German rendering retaining the title "Solitaire" was recorded in 1983 by Séverine in the wake of the Branigan version.

References[edit]

  1. ^ InfoDisc : Les Bilans Récapitulatifs (Chansons, Tubes ou Succès) des Titres selon la Place (M P)[dead link]
  2. ^ Stars of David: rock'n'roll's Jewish stories. Scott R Benarde. Brandeis University Press p 305
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 80. 

External links[edit]