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
  • 2
    Prologue. Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats
  • 3
    The Naming Of Cats
  • 4
    The Invitation To The Jellicle Ball
  • 5
    The Old Gumbie Cat
  • 6
    The Rum Tum Tugger
  • 7
    Grizabella (Elaine Paige)
  • 8
    Bustopher Jones
  • 9
    Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer
  • 10
    Old Deuteronomy
  • 11
    The Jellicle Ball
  • 12
    Grizabella: The Glamour Cat
  • 13
    Memory (Elaine Paige)
  • 14
    The Moments Of Happiness
  • 15
    Gus: The Theatre Cat
  • 16
    Growltiger's Last Stand / Ballad Of Billy McCaw
  • 17
    Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat
  • 18
    Macavity The Mystery Cat
  • 19
    Mr. Mistoffelees
  • 20
    Memory (Elaine Paige & Sarah Brightman)
  • 21
    Journey To The Heavyside Layer
  • 22
    The Ad-Dressing Of Cats