Cilla Black, "Alfie" (1966)
"Cilla was very nervous," George Martin said, remembering the day be brought British singer Cilla Black into Studio One at Abbey Road to record Burt Bacharach's "Alfie." She shouldn't have been. Her full, piercing performance, along with Martin's lush drapery, propelled the song to hit status in 1966 (a year before Dionne Warwick would make her own version iconic). Martin described Black's vocal delivery as "her corncrake voice, the really belting, rocking voice. It wasn't until we did one of Burt's songs, as a ballad in a soft voice, that she became a hit." Yet Martin was still able to coax a bit of that belting, rocking voice out of her at key moments, making for stunning dynamics. J.H.