Discography Highlights

Discography Highlights

CATS (Original London Cast)

  • Release date: 1981
  • Label: Polydor
  • Catalog #: CATX001 (2LP) / 817810-2 (2CD)

I’m not all that superstitious, but in a strange way fate took a hand. I was driving home one night, listening to the radio. I heard a fragment of “Memory”, and the DJ said ‘I’ll play the whole of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theme from his new musical, ‘Cats’, after the midnight news’. The tune so gripped me, I dived out of the car and ran towards the house to tape the music. Fumbling for my keys, I see a mangy, thin black cat pathetically struggling toward me. At that moment, I remembered what my mother always said: ‘If a black cat crosses your path, it’s good luck’. Once it had passed by, I hurried into the house, turned on the recorder and taped “Memory”. That night I took my Sony Walkman to bed and played the tune over and over again.

“Memory” is such a haunting ballad, with an operatic climax in true Andrew Lloyd Webber style. It ends with an emotional expression of hope: ‘If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is. Look, a new day has begun!’ It was my kind of song! I was determined to ring Andrew the very next morning to ask, plead even, to be allowed to record it, even though I had nothing to do with the show.

In the morning I was woken by the phone. It was the producer, Cameron Mackintosh, asking me to meet Trevor Nunn and Gillian Lynne. Cats was about to start previews in a few days’ time and they had a problem. Judi Dench, who was to play Grizabella, had torn her Achilles tendon and was in hospital. Could I take over? At such short notice I was apprehensive, but Cameron explained apologetically that the role of Grizabella, unlike ‘Evita’, was a cameo with only the one song “Memory”. I needed no more persuasion. Cats was another ground-breaking, award-winning British musical. No one had seen anything quite like it!

I’m told, that more than 150 artists have recorded versions of “Memory”. But I’m possessive and I still see it as my signature as I was the first Grizabella.

Note: The original London cast album of ‘Cats’ attained a Platinum certification by the BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry) for sales in the UK – this award marks sales of 300,000 units of an individual album title to UK retailers.

  1. 1

    Overture

  2. 2

    Prologue. Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats

  3. 3

    The Naming Of Cats

  4. 4

    The Invitation To The Jellicle Ball

  5. 5

    The Old Gumbie Cat

  6. 6

    The Rum Tum Tugger

  7. 7

    Grizabella (Elaine Paige)

  8. 8

    Bustopher Jones

  9. 9

    Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer

  10. 10

    Old Deuteronomy

  11. 11

    The Jellicle Ball

  12. 12

    Grizabella: The Glamour Cat

  13. 13

    Memory (Elaine Paige)

  14. 14

    The Moments Of Happiness

  15. 15

    Gus: The Theatre Cat

  16. 16

    Growltiger's Last Stand / Ballad Of Billy McCaw

  17. 17

    Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat

  18. 18

    Macavity The Mystery Cat

  19. 19

    Mr. Mistoffelees

  20. 20

    Memory (Elaine Paige & Sarah Brightman)

  21. 21

    Journey To The Heavyside Layer

  22. 22

    The Ad-Dressing Of Cats