Songs in A Minor is the debut studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was released in the United States on June 5, 2001 by J Records. After graduating from high school, Keys signed with Columbia Records to begin her music career. She recorded an album in 1998 under the label, which they rejected. Her contract subsequently ended with Columbia after a dispute with the label, and Keys later signed with Clive Davis. An accomplished, classically trained pianist, Keys wrote, arranged and produced a majority of the album, including "Jane Doe", which was the only song in the key of A minor.
There are almost more Petula Clark collections than there were actual songs (that's saying something), and Sanctuary's three-disc Songs of My Life: The Essential Petula Clark is one of the better ones. Split into three themes, "Swinging Times," "Mellow Moods," and "Beautiful Sounds," Songs of My Life relies heavily on the English pop sensation's peak '60s and '70s output. All of the key radio hits are here ("Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "This Is My Song"), as well as countless ballads, uptempo pop gems, and choice covers. Fans looking for a decent career overview (sadly, none of Clark's vast arsenal of French hits are here) may find the 78 tracks that populate Songs of My Life a bit overwhelming, but they're well worth spending some quality time alone with.
Songs in the Key of Life was Stevie Wonder's longest, most ambitious collection of songs, a two-LP (plus accompanying EP) set that – just as the title promised – touched on nearly every issue under the sun, and did it all with ambitious (even for him), wide-ranging arrangements and some of the best performances of Wonder's career…
Alicia de Larrocha has been playing these works, the greatest in the repertoire of Spanish piano music, all her life – one of her very first recordings, 40 years ago, was of some of the Goyescas, and I had the pleasure of welcoming her first Iberia ten years after that (10/65); and immersed as she was from her earliest childhood in the authentic tradition (her mother, her aunt and she herself were all trained at Granados’s own school, of which she later became director), she has several times been asked to re-record them. She once said, rather wistfully, that she didn’t consider herself a specialist but that Spanish music was what the public constantly demanded of her. One can sympathize with her if she feels inescapably cast in this mould – but then she shouldn’t be so wonderfully persuasive in it! She employs plenty of subtle rubato but possesses the ability to make it sound as natural as breathing; yet she can also preserve a stimulating tautness of rhythm.