Saturday, June 21, 2014

Music According to Benedict - "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison

It's been awhile since we checked the vintage vault for songs favored by Benedict Cumberbatch, hasn't it? It's not completely our fault, you know. He's been a very busy man lately:

Still, it seems no matter where he is or what he's doing, he usually has earbuds or headphones close at hand, so whether he's studying the South Boston dialect or talking to his talent agent, I think it's safe to say he's listening to music, too (and hopefully enjoying wine now and then:)

Photo via Two Paddocks

We've covered quite a few songs on Benedict's Top Tunes list from 2012 on Two Paddocks, from The Rolling Stones and David Bowie to Elbow and Claude Debussy (as performed by his friend, James Rhodes).

Today, it's all about Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" - written in 1968 as part of Morrison's sophomore album, Astral Weeks.

When choosing this classic, Benedict wrote:
"the landscape of sound and lyrics of Sweet Thing and the bitter sweet story of a man unable to give up his love of a woman...
It's perfection. As a teenager discovering it I yearned for the life experiences that could inspire such music and as a thirty-something I have to hold back the tears as old wounds are made raw again. But what a self indulgent and heavily perfumed way to grieve. Beautiful. For all who have loved and lost."
When discussing the song with music journalist Ritchie York, Morrison described it as "a romantic love ballad not about anybody in particular, but about a feeling." With lyrics like this, he sets a wistful and hopeful mood:

"And you shall take me strongly
In your arms again
And I will not remember
That I even felt the pain." 

Here's a studio-recorded version (with lyrics):

- and a Van Morrison performance recorded live:

It is a beautiful ballad, although perhaps not as well-known as his later works, "Moondance" or "Into the Mystic." Featured in the 2012 romantic comedy, The Five-Year Engagement,  the song is well worth a listen, no matter if you are yet to experience that intense love that falters, but never quite fades from your heart, or if you look back and recall someone whose one-time love comforts you still.

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