As has been reported by many people, Laura Branigan has died. To which I would imagine most people would respond: “Good Golly, she was that old? At 47?” – After all, pop stars tend to live on in our memory as if they’d never aged. Especially when they’re a 1980s two-hit wonder, complete with dry ice everywhere.
Having said that, for Laura’s death to be echoed all over the world says something about the power of her singing and the songs she was given.
Although my memory is a tad tainted by the fact that my first recollection of Gloria is not from Ms. Branigan, but from a moustachioed Lothario of a Hong Kong pop star, who sang Gloria on one of those ubiquituous all-star TV singing specials which plague Hong Kong television. Or so it would seem to my childhood.
Of course, with pop music, when you heard it is as important as what you heard. For me, Paul Simon’s Mother and Child Reunion will always be a cover version, because I heard the Chinese version first. And the moustachioed Lothario also had the cheek to cover a whole slew of Jewish folk songs – but I just assumed they were pop songs. So it came as a bit of a shocking blast from the past when I went to a Jewish wedding.