Christmas Adverts, Randy Crawford and “One Day I’ll Fly Away”

You know that the festive season is just around the corner when John Lewis comes up with another of their “heart-warming” Christmas adverts. I first watched it properly a few nights ago and much to my chagrin, this year they are using one of my all-time favourite songs, One Day I’ll Fly Away. The version for the ad is by South London band Vaults (no The apparently) but the version I fell in love with many years ago was by Randy Crawford. Incredibly, despite being from Georgia, she didn’t ever crack the Billboard Hot 100 in the US but achieved great success in Europe and the UK making it to No. 2 in our Singles Chart in 1980 with that song.

One Day I’ll Fly Away by Randy Crawford:

My chagrin comes from the fact that a song I have always loved will by the end of the festive period have lost all its charm due to having been listened to just once too often. One upside of blogging however is that it does leave very little time for television, so what I do watch nowadays tends to be very carefully cherry-picked from recordings or on-demand services (that would be Netflix then) – With any luck I might be spared the over-exposure. To be fair however, the ad, featuring a very excited Buster the Boxer joyously jumping up and down on the trampoline from Santa, is a great one and not the sadvert they were accused of putting out last year. I do wonder whether it actually does lead to a hike in sales nowadays, when so many of us do our Christmas shopping online, but they have kind of set the bar for this new art form and as yet have seen off the competition. A lot of course is down to the song choice, and I certainly can’t fault Vaults performance in this one (One Day I’ll Fly Away – John Lewis style).

But back to the song itself – In 1979 Randy Crawford sang with The Crusaders, providing vocals for their excellent hit Street Life. Joe Sample and Will Jennings from The Crusaders then wrote One Day I’ll Fly Away specifically for Randy. The song is apparently about emotional bondage and the longing to be free of it. Coincidentally it came to mind the other Sunday (the same day I took to “tipsy blogging”) on my drive to the supermarket when I felt I had just too much to do that day. How wonderful I thought it would be to get off the hamster wheel and just keep on driving, flying away to a new less busy life. (Just to be clear no emotional bondage to be free of, as Mr WIAA is a great other half, just wouldn’t mind there being a bit less “to-do-list” bondage in an average week.) Needless to say I didn’t fly away that afternoon but did the shopping and then went home to cook the Sunday dinner as per usual!

But the video clip I’m going to share today is actually from the sumptuous 2001 Baz Luhrmann musical Moulin Rouge! where Nicole Kidman turned in a great performance playing Star Courtesan Satine. Who knew she could sing so well (I didn’t anyway) and the scene in the amazing “Red Room Elephant” where she sings One Day I’ll Fly Away was my favourite of the whole movie. Satine is not particularly yearning to be free of emotional bondage or even to-do-list bondage, but she longs to leave the life she is living at The Moulin Rouge, and become a “real” actress.

One Day I’ll Fly Away by Nicole Kidman:

This was a typical Baz Luhrmann, over-the-top production with many great songs but with a very simple boy-meets-girl storyline. Enter poet/writer Christian, played by my favourite Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, who falls in love with Satine. Who knew he could sing so well either, but the pair of them performed many memorable duets in that movie some of which I will leave for another day.

No great light-bulb revelation with this post other than a pleasant revisitation of a song I have enjoyed over the years, albeit prompted by a Christmas ad. It is my abiding hope that it doesn’t get ruined for me over the festive period through over-exposure. One mini revelation however was finding out that the main hook in the song (its title) was based on the opening sequence from Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers – Every day’s a school day!

One Day I’ll Fly Away Lyrics
(Song by Will Jennings/Joe Sample)

I follow the night
Can’t stand the light

When will I begin?
To live again?

One day I’ll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday
What more could your love do for me
When will love be through with me
Why live life from dream to dream
And dread the day when dreaming ends

One day I’ll fly away!
Leave all this to yesterday!
Why live life from dream to dream!?
And dreamt the day when dreaming end

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

8 thoughts on “Christmas Adverts, Randy Crawford and “One Day I’ll Fly Away””

  1. Thanks so much for posting that commercial, Alyson. I think it’s wonderful! I was feeling sorry for Buster the Boxer and am so glad he got his chance in the end. As for Randy Crawford, “Street Life” is one of my favourite ’70s sounds. What a voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it – Buster is about to become a big star I can tell. As for Randy’s voice I just love it which is why I didn’t feature her version as really don’t want to ever hear it “just once too often”.

      Off to bed now as it’s nearly 1am here and I’ve been blogging for too many hours today!

      Like

  2. Delighted to see Randy Crawford’s original version of “One Day I’ll Fly Away” being celebrated on these pages. I’ve always thought her a much underrated artist – someone in the mould of Anita Baker and Candi Station; both artists who never received the recognition they really deserved. If could pick a song of hers as a favourite, I’d bypass “Almaz”, “Everything Must Change” and her version of “Rainy Night In Georgia” and go for “You Might Need Somebody”…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The funny thing about the John Lewis Christmas ad is that I read about it every year but can’t ever remember seeing it (unless I’ve gone out of my way to do so). Like you, my TV viewing is either pre-recorded or via Netflix etc. and as I used to work in advertising, I have an extra loathing for such things.

    I’d forgotten the song’s inclusion in the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, but yes… I feel like flying away most days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far I’ve managed to avoid seeing it too much, so all might be well on the over-exposure front. Love the Moulin Rouge soundtrack so going to do another post about those songs but Fly Away definitely my favourite.

      Yes, something is amiss if we all want to fly away (from to-do-list bondage) and can’t decide if blogging helps or hinders. Missed it when I took a fortnight off but now takes up most of my free time again. In a funny way life was simpler for Paul in the schoolyard, albeit with extreme results!

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