Song Lyric Sunday: (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice

For his second week of leading SLS Fandango has followed the path set by Jim and invited us to share a song which was rejected by one artist that then became a big hit for another. You can see Fandango’s post at Substitute Music Teacher #2 to get the full picture. My choice for this will probably be obscure for North American readers, but it was a big deal for us in the UK back in 1969.

If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to
Who needs paradise I’d rather have you
They say paradise is up in the stars
But I needn’t sigh because it’s so far
‘Cause I know it’s worth a heaven on earth
For me where you are

A look from your eyes, a touch of your hand
And I seem to fly to some other land
When you are around my heart always pounds
Just like a brass band

If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to
Who needs paradise I’d rather have you
Oh yes I’d rather have you

If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to
Who needs paradise I’d rather have you
Oh yes I’d rather have you

They say paradise is up in the stars
But I needn’t sigh because it’s so far
‘Cause I know it’s worth a heaven on earth
To me where you are

A look from your eyes a touch of your hand
And I seem to fly to some other land

(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice was originally written by the Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Battisti for La Ragazza 77, alias Ambra Borelli, in 1968 as Il paradiso della vita (The paradise of life) – she released it solely as an album track. As a single it was a #8 hit in Italy for Patty Pravo under the title Il Paradiso (Paradise). It was translated into English by a guy called Jack Fishman and was actually offered to The Tremeloes, who were already a successful band, having enjoyed hits on both sides of the Atlantic. But they turned it down – that might be deemed a mistake! Amen Corner, a Welsh band, had already had four UK hits, two of which reached the top ten: they had just changed record companies and this was their first release on the new label. It spent two weeks at #1 here in February 1969, but after one more hit (Hello Susie, which reached #4 here) the band disbanded at the end of that year.

As far as I can tell Amen Corner had success in several other European countries as well as the UK but not in North America, which is why I think you guys may not know this one – prove me wrong! Andy Fairweather-Low, their vocalist, has had a long solo career, and has also appeared on records by a number of big names, including Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd). Blue Weaver, their keyboards player, has since been in the backing band for The Bee Gees and was a member of The Strawbs, a British band who at times espoused folk rock, prog rock and even had a brief flirtation with glam rock. I don’t think they had any chart success in the US so you guys might not know of them. I liked them though!

This song came out when I was fifteen. At the time I was mad about a beautiful girl who lived in the same village as me, and would have loved the chance to tell her that this was how I felt about her. We did go out a couple of times, but it never came to anything: she was a year older than me, had already left school and was much more sophisticated and grown up (in her mind, anyway) so I didn’t stand a chance, really! But the song still brings back happy memories of those days, which is why it will always be a part of my musical upbringing. I hope you like it, and if iI’ve planted an ear worm with that chorus of la-la-la, all I can say is sorry (not really!). Enjoy your Sunday, and I’ll see you again on Tuesday.

Song credits:

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Giulio Rapetti Mogol / Jack Fishman / Lucio Battisti

(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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44 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice

  1. Pingback: Hot Days In July | Take It Easy

  2. I have a couple of songs that I associate with old flames too, but I certainly don’t broadcast this fact to my wonderful wife. We’re coming up on 36 years in less than a month. I’d never heard this song before, but it’s not my cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On this Andy’s vocal is exactly right for the tune whereas on ‘Hello Suzie’ and, ironically, ‘High In The Sky’ it gets a tad shrill. Such a big ‘controversy at our school by the prepubescent music pundits over which version of ‘Bend Me Shape Me’ was best, American Breeds or Amen Corners; How sad is THAT, in retrospect?
    And actually getting to go out with the girl of your dream is a win, even if it went nowhere? I just stood on the sidelines, a too shy, too short in confidence angst filled pimply stuttering fool, watching her being wooed by the biggest bullying asshat from the class above mine. No hope for this no-hoper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • His voice did have a habit of doing that, but I rather liked it – it had something a bit different from others at the time. Amen Corner won that battle hands down here: their version got to #3 and I don’t think the American Breed even reached our top twenty. They didn’t have Andy, did they!

      Sorry if I’ve brought back unwelcome memories for you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • Their first single and it still surprises me that it made our top twenty – not a typical song for British record buyers! Original by Bessie Smith, if memory serves me right.

      Like

    • Considering that it must only be just after 7am over there that earworm is going to be with you for a while, Yvette! It is quite an upbeat song, isn’t it, even though it is a slow one. A nice memory to have: she really was beautiful and had a brief career in modelling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – it is early here and I have been up for an hour but that is my first song of the day – but it had already quieted as the ear worm because I watched a few videos at “one best thing” blog

        And I hope your weekend is winding down nicely

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was awake around 6am but managed to sleep another couple of hours – much more civilised for me!

        Coming up to lunchtime here, with the Wimbledon men’s singles final to follow for dessert 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you got more sleep – I am
        Going to nap today and I don’t do that very much (used to be a daily nap taker)
        And sometimes getting up a little early and having tea and journaling in those precious dawn moments is needed
        But – if too much of a sleep debt than it backfires!
        Anyhow –
        Glad you got some more sleep –
        💤😴

        Liked by 1 person

      • My husband takes a nap almost every single day – and a year ir so ago he bought a “cooling mat” that makes the bed cool and is supposed to make sleep better – he likes it for his side of the bed but I don’t want any gadgets !
        But I guess cooler air or the cooler layer is supposed to help sleep!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes’ and he just got their latest upgraded one and I guess the tech is way better
        But your use of gadgets is how I view it – none for me !
        However – I did just get a white noise gadget and I love it so much
        My fav is the quiet sound of waves

        Liked by 1 person

      • I once tried an app on my phone for white noise to help me sleep. I chose the sound of waves, but it didn’t work: had to get up to go to the toilet 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ps
        I did like your humor in you comment to me on the sleep post last week
        You replied

        Wish I could ” say I dreamed the idea but I was actually awake when I thought of it”

        Bah
        😆

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Darlene. I’ve always liked this one, even with that memory, and enjoyed their other chart hits too, especially Hello Susie and Bend Me, Shape Me. Sad they were so short lived, really.

      Liked by 1 person

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