About the song
Brenda Lee is one of the most successful female singers of the 1960s, with a string of hits that showcased her powerful voice and versatile style. One of her most memorable songs is “All Alone Am I”, a melancholic ballad that expresses the loneliness of a broken heart. In this blog post, I will explore the origins and impact of this song, as well as some interesting facts about its creation and performance.
The song was originally composed by the Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis and recorded in Greek by Tzeni Karezi for the soundtrack of the film To nisi ton genneon (The Island of the Brave) in 1960. The original song in Greek is titled “Μην τον ρωτάς τον ουρανό” (“Min ton rotas ton ourano”, translation: “Don’t ask the heaven”). The film was a sequel to the Oscar-winning film Never on Sunday, which also featured music by Hadjidakis.
A melody that appeared in both films was sent to Lee’s management as a tune to be considered for the singer to record, and after being translated into English by Arthur Altman, became “All Alone Am I”. The song was produced by Owen Bradley, who was Lee’s longtime collaborator and mentor. Bradley gave the song a lush orchestral arrangement that contrasted with Lee’s emotional vocals. The song was recorded on August 9, 1962, at Bradley’s studio in Nashville.
The song was released as a single in September 1962, and became a huge hit for Lee. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1962, and number seven on the UK Singles Chart in February 1963. It also spent five weeks atop the US Billboard Easy Listening chart in November and December 1962, Lee’s only song to do so. The song was also included on Lee’s album of the same name, which reached number 25 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The song has been covered by many artists over the years, such as Timi Yuro, Shirley Bassey, Françoise Hardy, Dusty Springfield, Andy Williams, Roy Orbison, and Julio Iglesias. It has also been translated into several languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Turkish.
The song is considered one of Lee’s signature songs, and one of the classic pop ballads of the 1960s. It showcases Lee’s ability to convey deep emotions with her voice, and to adapt to different musical genres and styles. It also reflects the influence of Greek music on American pop culture in the early 1960s, thanks to Hadjidakis’ compositions.
If you are a fan of Brenda Lee or of pop music in general, you should definitely listen to “All Alone Am I” and appreciate its beauty and history. You can watch Lee perform the song live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 here: