FLASH FRIDAY: K.D. Lang Craves Jazzing Up Broadway
Internationally renown vocalist k.d. lang has just been announced to be making her Broadway debut in the new musical revue AFTER MIDNIGHT early next year, so, today, we are celebrating the coo-worthy Canadian crooner - and that is definitely a particularly delectable dish of the day to dig!
Shortly after landing a recording deal in music hotspot Nashville in the late 1980s, Canadian singer k.d. lang - sometimes credited as kd lang - burst upon the music scene in a major way thanks to a ubiquitous duet with rock legend Roy Orbison on a cover of his classic tune "Crying", eventually winning a Grammy Award for her efforts on the unforgettable track in 1989. "Crying" would actually end up acting as the first of (at least) two unforgettable duets with music icons by Lang, the latter coming in 2003 byway of her Tony Bennett duet "A Wonderful World", though their "La Vie En Rose" was also nominated in the same category, incidentally. Following that early Orbison collaboration and her first solo album came a major track on the Cole Porter tribute to benefit AIDS research, RED, HOT + BLUE which gained Lang more fans and more industry credibility - a resplendent recording of "So In Love" from Porter's 1948 musical KISS ME, KATE that has since become arguably the song's most celebrated rendition to date; no small feat. Lang won her next Grammy Award for her sophomore album ABSOLUTE TORCH AND TWANG, but her biggest hit to date was yet to come.
If having a major single represented on musical dramedy series GLEE is a sign of having had some sort of pop cultural success and cross-generational appeal - to say nothing of appearing on the show itself - then k.d. lang can certainly count herself in popular and recognizable company thanks to her 1992 smash "Constant Craving", which was given due diligence in an imaginative group rendition on the series not too long ago. Plus, after having already won Grammy Awards in country categories with her prior releases, the INGENUE track garnered the genre-hopping artist a pop award this time around - and mainstream success to go with it, selling millions of copies in the process. The song was so popular and ever-present that Rolling Stones front-man Mick Jagger supposedly subliminally copied it when writing the chorus of their hit "Anybody Seen My Baby?" and therefore gave Lang co-writing credit to her amusement, with Lang apparently finding it quite flattering.
Lang made a major mark with much movie music in the mid-to-late 1990s, contributing copiously to Gus Van Sant's lesbian-themed indie cult film EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES and also singing a selection on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood's MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. Additionally, Lang recorded the alluring and evocative love theme for the James Bond feature TOMORROW NEVER DIES, "Surrender".
On top of all that screen work, in 2004, Lang made her Disney debut by giving voice to "Little Patch Of Heaven" in the farm-themed animated musical HOME ON THE RANGE and continued to contribute to the family-friendly children's film market with a Beatles track for the HAPPY FEET soundtrack soon after.
More recently, Lang actually appeared on GLEE in 2010, participating in that first season's holiday episode and collaborating with Broadway favorite Matthew Morrison on the enduring "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch", outfitted with new Sue Sylvester-centric lyrics and showcased on the very first GLEE Christmas album, as well. Also, earlier this year, Lang shared the screen with popular Broadway and Hollywood crossover star Neil Patrick Harris on his long-running sitcom HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.
Most notably insofar as her music this century is concerned - besides a handful of handsomely crafted albums, that is - Lang stopped the show at the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony with her passionate performance of Leonard Cohen's soul-shattering "Hallelujah", showing the whole world why she is among the finest jazz, country, rock and pop - and, soon to be, Broadway - vocalists alive.
With a velvet voice seemingly sent from the highest halls of the angels, Lang is poised to set the Great White Way alight in singing the standards of Duke Ellington in AFTER MIDNIGHT come February 2014 when she opens in the show and her ample abilities will be available to a whole new audience constantly craving talent as heaven-sent as hers unquestionably is.
So, now, give yourself over to this astonishingly gifted vocalist and experience the musical prowess of the one and only k.d. lang in these highlights from her impressive career thus far as we anticipate her Broadway bow.
First up, hear what made the world prick up their ears to the unbelievable vocal artistry of k.d. lang in the Roy Orbison duet "Crying", here in a special live rendering.
Next, enjoy Lang's superb "So In Love" from Cole Porter's KISS ME, KATE as featured on RED, HOT + BLUE, introduced by Lang herself.
Lang teams up with Elton John for a sensational "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word".
Now, the one we've all been waiting for: "Constant Craving".
Lang lets out her inner vamp with the slinky James Bond love theme "Surrender" from TOMORROW NEVER DIES.
Hear Lang's cool '90s cover of the classic VALLEY OF THE DOLLS theme by Andre and Dory Previn.
Here is Lang's Grammy Award-winning duet with Tony Bennett, "A Wonderful World".
Lang and Bennett re-team for "Blue Velvet" live on THE VIEW.
GLEE's first Christmas album is highlighted by Lang's cameo performance of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch", with Matthew Morrison.
Lastly, Lang lifts the audience to their feet with "Hallelujah" at the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony. Simply stunning!
As a special bonus, enjoy GLEE's take on "Constant Craving".
So, what is your favorite musical moment from the many available to devour in this grand buffet of k.d. lang indulgences? Does "Constant Craving" satiate your appetite or is "Hallelujah" the true manna you desperately desire? Perhaps it is one of her spectacular soundtrack selections or a particularly moving live performance you prefer? Whatever the case, with an accomplished artist so impeccable live as Lang undoubtedly is, theatregoers are in for a real hankering-worthy treat in getting the opportunity to experience her live and in person via AFTER MIDNIGHT.
So in love, so in love, so in love with k.d. lang are we. And, so, until February: keep craving.
More On: k.d. lang, Tony Bennett, Cole Porter, Mick Jagger, Gus Van, Clint Eastwood, James Bond, Matthew Morrison.