Another Suitcase in Another Hall

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"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"
Single by Barbara Dickson
from the album Evita
B-side "Requiem For Evita"
Released February 7, 1977
Format 7"
Recorded 1976
Genre Pop
Length 2:45
Label MCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Andrew Lloyd Webber
Barbara Dickson singles chronology
"Out of Love With Love"
(1976)
"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"
(1977)
"Lover's Serenade"
(1977)

"Another Suitcase in Another Hall" is a song recorded by Scottish singer Barbara Dickson, for the 1976 concept album, Evita, which contains songs from the musical of the same name based on the life of Argentinian icon Eva Perón. Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the song is presented during a sequence where Eva throws out her husband's mistress on the streets who sings the track, wondering about her future and coming to the conclusion that she would be fine. Dickson was enlisted by the songwriters to record the track after hearing her previous work.

Rice and Webber asked her to record the song using a higher than usual pitch, so that she sounded younger like her character. Featuring instrumentation from guitar, marimba, harp and keyboard, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" finds Dickson singing in a soprano voice. Critically appreciated, the song was released as a single on February 7, 1977, and reached number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. Dickson has stated that she did not prefer her recorded version of the track and employed a different arrangement during her future live renditions.

The song has been covered and performed many times by other artists, most notably by American singer Madonna who played the part of Eva for the 1996 film adaptation of the musical. It was released on March 24, 1997, by Warner Bros. as the third and final single from the film's soundtrack. Unlike the musical, in the film the track was sung by Madonna's character instead of the mistress. Upon its release, the song garnered positive response from music critics, many of them highlighting Madonna's enhanced singing ability. It managed to become a top-ten hit in Italy and the United Kingdom.

Background and recording[edit]

"Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice while they were developing the Evita for broadway in 1976. Both were extremely intrigued by the stories surrounding the life of Eva Perón while researching about her during the mid-1970s. They came to know about her husband, Juan Perón's affinity for young women, and Rice and Webber decided to use it as one of the backstories behind Eva and Juan's rise to power.[1] In the original musical, the song is performed by the character of Juan's teenage mistress (played by Siobhán McCarthy) after she is "kicked out" by his future wife, Eva.[2] According to director Michael Grandage, the story took the "edge off" a supposed fairy tale like interpretation of Eva and Juan, unveiling their ambitions and cut-throat personality. From a production point-of-view, it also allowed Grandage to show ruthlessness of Eva, when Juan allows her to throw his "mistress" away. The girl is ultimately left on the streets with nowhere to go, and there she sings the song.[1]

It is a particularly poignant melody that should play with an audience's emotions. The mistress clearly knew what she was doing sleeping with an older man, and yet there is something expletive about it as well. Eva's bitchiness should be enjoyed by an audience, but they should also be investing in the plight of a young girl's eviction. The narrative of this section is so well structured that it is obvious the journey of the mistress is complete by her exit. This allows the audience to invest in a single moment while also learning more about Eva and Peron's character as they move forward in the story.[1]

"Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was first recorded by singer Barbara Dickson in 1976 for the Evita concept album that eventually became the stage musical; Dickson did not appear in the musical itself.[3] Rice and Webber had already enlisted actress Julie Covington to sing the part of Eva, hence they were on the look-out for other supporting vocal personnel. They found about Dickson who had recently starred in the Willy Russell musical, John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Bert, and had charted on the UK Singles Chart with her cover version of the David Whitfield and Frankie Laine song, "Answer Me" (1976). Dickson and her manager, Bernard Theobald, had a discussion with Rice and Webber about starring in the musical, but her voice was declared "too delicate" for singing the numbers on Evita. So they offered her one song which was not sun by Eva's character, and that was "Another Suitcase in Another Hall".[4][3]

Music composition[edit]

A man wearing a grey suit sitting with his hands closed
An old man outside
Co-writers of "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Dickson recalled that during recording, Webber asked her to sing in a higher range than her usual, since the "mistress" character was a teenager, and should have sounded younger.[3] Before the sequence of the eviction of the mistress occurs in Act I of the musical, Eva's character sings the song "Hello and goodbye" and then "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" begins. A soft strummed guitar in broken chord patterns heralds the introductory music. Dickson sings the opening verse, and the chorus which is repeated twice as she asks, "So, what happens now?" and wonders about her immediate future, ultimately concluding that she would survive.[5] For the second verse, the lyrics reflect on this recurring pattern of being evicted out of men's lives, and the final verses have a more positive outlook toward's the subject's life. The song finishes with the mistress asking the question, "Where am I going to?" as a male voice pacifies by saying, "Don't ask, anymore".[5]

"Another Suitcase in Another Hall" features instrumentation from guitar, marimba, harp and keyboard, with Dickson singing in a soprano voice. Author Mark Ross Clark noted in his book, The Broadway Song: A Singer's Guide, that her vocals portrayed different kind of emptions, with standard pitch correction in the lower middle C. Her vocals contrast the lyrics with an "underlying coolness", while the light voice enabled Dickson to sing the lines "So, what happens now?" in sixteenth note, Emajor. The song is high-pitched to make its syllables appear as difficult to sing.[5]

Release and reception[edit]

After the first single from the Evita album, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", achieved commercial success, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was released as the second single on February 7, 1977.[3] A reviewer from Melody Maker complimented the song, saying that without the context of Evita, the song was more acceptable and was "poignant and lovely. How lucky Lloyd Webber and Rice are to have Julie Covington and now Dickson, to add the flesh and bones to songs which might otherwise be wrecks of soppy melodrama. A smash hit."[6] It was Dickson's second single to chart on the UK Singles Chart, following "Answer Me" in 1976, and entered the chart at number 44 in its first week and peaked at number 18 in its fifth week. It was present for a total of seven weeks on the chart.[7][8]

Due to the high-pitch employed in the recording, Dickson reflected in later years that she "never liked the original [track] for that reason. The song has seasoned over the years with my singing of it."[3] Dickson believed that she did not sound like herself on the song. While performing it later point of time on her concerts, Dickson sang it in her actual tone, saying that although the track "might have been written for a teenage girl, but the experience of being abandoned by a man is one, women of all ages can relate to. I think you have to be honest with songs and with yourself." The singer's music director Ian Lynn arranged the track differently which she performs currently.[9]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" (Album version) – 3:00
  2. "Requiem For Evita" (Choir and London Philharmonic Orchestra) – 3:05

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the single's liner notes.[11]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 18

Other versions[edit]

English singer Elaine Paige recorded the song for her 1983 album Stages.[12] Sarah Brightman, who was married to Webber from 1984 to 1990, included the song on her album The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection.[13] Marti Webb's version of the song was included in the 1995 album Music & Songs From Evita.[14] English musician Hank Marvin included an instrumental version of the song on his 1997 tribute album Hank Marvin and the Shadows Play the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.[15] Kimberley Walsh, from British girl group Girls Aloud, covered the song for her debut studio album Centre Stage (2013).[16] Singer Hayley Westenra included the song on her 2000 album Walking in the Air.[17] On the tribute show Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Musical Years, the song was performed by actress Samantha Barks.[18]

Madonna version[edit]

"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"
Single by Madonna
from the album Evita
B-side "Don't Cry for Me Argentina"
Released March 24, 1997
Format
Recorded 1995
Genre Pop
Length 3:32
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s)
  • Tim Rice
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
Producer(s)
Madonna singles chronology
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina"
(1996)
"Another Suitcase in Another Hall"
(1997)
"Frozen"
(1998)

Background and development[edit]

In 1996, Madonna starred in the film adaptation of the musical, titled Evita, playing the role of Eva; she had desired for the part for a long time and even wrote to director Alan Parker, explaining how she would be perfect for the part.[19] After securing the role, she underwent vocal training with coach Joan Layder since Evita required the actors to sing their own parts. Layder noted that the singer "had to use her voice in a way she's never used it before. Evita is real musical theater — its operatic, in a sense. Madonna developed an upper register that she didn't know she had."[20][21] Unlike the musical, Madonna performs the song after ending her relationship with Agustín Magaldi, deciding she wants to improve her life.[2] The song had barely any promotion and no official music video was shot. Instead, a video was created using footage and scenes from the film.[22]

Recording and composition[edit]

A 22 second clip of "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" where Madonna sings the verses using breathy vocals and a key sequence of C to F

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Recording sessions for the film's songs and soundtrack began on September 1995, and took place at the CTS Studios in London with Madonna accompanied by co-actors Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. However, trouble arose as Madonna was not completely comfortable with laying down a "guide vocal" simultaneously with an 84 piece orchestra inside the studio. She was used to singing over a pre-recorded track and not have musicians listen to her. Also, unlike her previous soundtrack releases, she had little to no control over the project.[23] An emergency meeting was held between Parker, Webber and Madonna where it was decided that the singer would record her part in a more contemporary studio while the orchestration would take place somewhere else. She also had alternate days off from the recording.[24]

Madonna's version of the song begins with the same soft strummed guitar in broken chords.[5] Madonna sings in a breathy voice, giving her character more vulnerability.[25][26] The first vocal entrance leads into an engaging melody with the opening phrase, "so what happens now?", being repeated twice.[5] According to the sheet music published by Musicnotes.com, the song is set in common time, with a slow tempo of 50 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of C major, with Madonna's vocals spanning from A3 to E5. The song has a sequence of CF when Madonna sings the opening verse "I don't expect my love affairs to last for long".[27]

Release and reception[edit]

The song was officially released as the soundtrack's third single on March 24, 1997. Originally, there were talks or releasing an Evita EP, containing remixed versions of "Buenos Aires", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall". As it was not given a commercial release in the United States, it was ineligible to enter the Billboard Hot 100.[28] In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart, the week of March 29, 1997 and was present on the top 100 for a total of 8 weeks.[29] According to the Official Charts Company, the single had sold 75,233 copies in the United Kingdom as of August 2008.[30] In Italy, it reached the fourth position of the FIMI Singles Chart.[31] The song also reached a peak of number 23 on the Irish Singles Chart, where it remained for 3 weeks.[32] Elsewhere it had a relatively poor chart performance; in the Netherlands it peaked at number 91 while in Sweden it came at number 60.[33][34]

AllMusic's Jose F. Promis, wrote that "the song finds Madonna giving an understated and inspired performance [...] One hopes that this overlooked gem might find its way onto future [Madonna] hits collections, because it is truly a wonderful song".[35] Author Thomas S. Hischak called it "plaintive".[36] Billboard‍ '​s Geoff Burpee called it "A sterling, intimate moment from the Evita soundtrack. Yes kids, she [Madonna] can sing".[37] Writing for Los Angeles Times, David Gritten opined Madonna's voice sounded "pitch-perfect and clear as a bell".[38] Greg Monago, from the Hartford Courant, felt that "By giving her 'Another Suitcase' with its heartbreaking 'Where am I going to?' refrain, Madonna adds a necessary, fragile vulnerability to her ambitious, rags- to-riches Eva Peron".[39] Neil Strauss from The Herald Journal, said that "Madonna radiates on 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'".[40]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[41]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[42] 6
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 23
Italy (FIMI)[31] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[33] 91
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[34] 60
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[29] 7

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Clark 2015, p. 53
  2. ^ a b Patinkin 2008, p. 452
  3. ^ a b c d e Clark 2015, p. 54
  4. ^ Rice 2012, p. 25
  5. ^ a b c d e Clark 2015, p. 51
  6. ^ "The Year Queen Lizzy Shook America". Melody Maker: 43. February 12, 1977. ISSN 0025-9012. 
  7. ^ a b "Barbara Dickson: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Lester, Paul (January 3, 2015). "Whatever happened to actress and singer Barbara Dickson?". Daily Express. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  9. ^ Dickson 2012, p. 108
  10. ^ Another Suitcase in Another Hall (7" single liner notes). Barbara Dickson. MCA Records. 1977. 4C 006-98809. 
  11. ^ a b Another Suitcase in Another Hall (7" Company Sleeve liner notes). Barbara Dickson. MCA Records. 1977. MCA 266. 
  12. ^ "Elaine Page > Stages". AllMusic. 1983. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Sarah Brightman — The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Music & Songs From Evita — Marti Webb". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Hank Marvin > Hank Marvin and the Shadows Play the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice". AllMusic. 1997. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Kimberley Walsh — Centre Stage". iTunes Store. January 1, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Hayley Westenra France — Walking in the Air". Hayley Westenra Official Website. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ Guioia, Michael (April 3, 2013). "The Screening Room: Sierra Boggess, Samantha Barks, Heather Headley Celebrate Andrew Lloyd Webber in New TV Concert (Video)". Playbill. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ Michael 2004, p. 67
  20. ^ Taraborrelli 2008, p. 260
  21. ^ Ciccone, Madonna (November 1996). "The Madonna Diaries". Vanity Fair (Advance Publications): 174–188. ISSN 0733-8899. 
  22. ^ Morton 2002, p. 408
  23. ^ Taraborrelli 2008, p. 261
  24. ^ Taraborrelli 2008, p. 262
  25. ^ Staff (November 14, 1996). "New Madonna Becomes Evita". Bangor Daily News 108 (129): 36. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  26. ^ Rooksby 2004, p. 80
  27. ^ "'Another Suitcase in Another Hall' Madonna: Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  28. ^ Taylor, Chuck (January 25, 1997). ""Miami Mix" makes people cry out for single release of Madonna's 'Argentina'". Billboard 109 (04): 100. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "Madonna: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  30. ^ Jones, Alan (August 19, 2008). "The Immaculate Guide to 50 Years of Madonna". Music Week. Archived from the original on September 11, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "Lsingoli più venduti del 1996" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  32. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Another Suitcase in Another Hall". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  33. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Madonna – Another Suitcase in Another Hall" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  34. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Madonna – Another Suitcase in Another Hall". Singles Top 60. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  35. ^ Promis, Jose F. (June 17, 1997). "Madonna > Another Suitcase in Another Hall". AllMusic. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  36. ^ Hischak 2008, p. 228
  37. ^ Burpee, Geoff (December 18, 1996). "Critic's Poll". Billboard 108 (52): 46. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  38. ^ Gritten, David (May 4, 1996). "'She'll Surprise a Lot of People'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  39. ^ Morago, Greg (November 14, 1996). "Album Review — Motion Picture Soundtrack — Evita". Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  40. ^ Strauss, Neil (November 28, 1996). "Soundtracks among top holiday recordings". The Herald Journal 151 (333): 42. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  41. ^ Evita (Liner notes). Madonna. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. Records. 1996. 9362-46346-2. 
  42. ^ "Ultratop.be – Madonna – Another Suitcase in Another Hall" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved July 9, 2015.

References[edit]

External links[edit]