Jackson Browne was not the first to record Stay, still the shortest single ever to top the charts, but he made it his own when he covered the doo-wop oldie in 1977.
I was watching a telly drama last night when a young female student mentioned being at a music festival and enjoying a song called Stay, sung by Jackson Browne.
She was quickly ‘corrected’ by another woman, pointing out that the song was originally by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs.
Leaving aside the question of credibility (Would a student in her early 20s be blown away by a singer in his seventies? Would a woman in her mid-thirties know a doo-wop tune written in the 1950s?) it struck a chord with me.
So I went away to discover the original, written five years before I was born when Maurice was 15, after his date insisted on going home like a good girl at 10 o’clock.
A hit in 1960 – and still the shortest US chart topper of all time at just 96 seconds – it features an incredible falsetto vocal (by Henry Gaston) as does the subsequent version by The Four Seasons (by Frankie Valli) from 1963.
And so does the Jackson Browne version – from his 1977 album Running On Empty – with its clever rearrangement featuring verses in ascending vocal by David Lindley and Rosemary Butler.
I had forgotten just how perfect it is. And I do recommend the BBC drama, Showtrial, about two spoiled rich kids accused of murdering a fellow student in Bristol, with sex-and-drugs overtones (or undertones) of the Meredith Kercher/Foxy Knoxy case.