To celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year,” Atwood Magazine’s Mistletones column features fresh holiday/wintertime tracks and exciting covers of beloved classics. December has a knack for bringing out some of the most poignant, tender, and celebratory music, and we want to highlight that excitement by showcasing new and alternative holiday greats! Spice up your holiday season with songs you can listen to now and cherish in the years to come.
FERGUS’ breathtaking version of “Strangers in the Night” is a hauntingly bittersweet outpouring of longing, tenderness, love, and sadness.
Strangers in the night, two lonely people…
Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” performance has been the soundtrack to countless love stories for over fifty years. A bona fide classic tale of serendipity, connection, and fairy tale endings, it captures love’s magical beginnings with intimate accuracy: The tension, the anticipation, the realization, and ultimately the dream come true.
It was for these reasons and more that, nearly three years ago at a friend’s wedding, my then-girlfriend and I slow danced to Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” in our hotel room. Despite spending all evening on our feet, we weren’t quite ready to go to sleep – and having recently said “I love you” for the very first time, the song carried an extra special romance and significance.
So the song goes, ever since that night, we’ve been together. Two and a half years later, I was ready to propose to her, and I did it my way: I asked artists from around the world for their help making a soundtrack to our engagement – a special collection consisting of covers of our songs, the ones that defined our relationship. “Strangers in the Night” was at the top of that list, and I was touched to learn British singer/songwriter FERGUS wanted to cover it for us. When I first heard his version, I wept with joy.
Strangers in the night
Wondering in the night
What were the chances
We’d be sharing love
Before the night was through?
Stream: “Strangers in the Night” – FERGUS
I am honored and proud to be premiering FERGUS’ breathtaking version of “Strangers in the Night,” a hauntingly bittersweet outpouring of longing, tenderness, love, and sadness.
“I said straight away “I’m doing strangers” – I just knew I could do something different with it,” FERGUS explains. “At the time I really needed something to throw myself into, so I spent three days recording it on my sofa. I wanted to make something special for Mitch and Jess, of course, but really I did it for a girl… I poured all my longing and devotion and sadness into it, and I liked it so much I took it to Jake [Gosling] to mix properly for release.”
Atwood had the distinct pleasure of premiering FERGUS’ debut music video “You or Nothing” in January, calling it “a vivid portrait aching with sincerity, the sort of exposed vulnerability that tugs at your heartstrings.” The London-based artist recently released his debut EP Purple Road in October, which I described as “a haunting journey through darkness.” FERGUS is among the few of us who can translate his inner demons into something magical, compelling, and bigger than themselves.
“It’s seemed like a long journey!” FERGUS says of the road leading up to his debut EP. “13 months to the day (a cool coincidence that I love) since we recorded ‘You or Nothing.’ I’ve been learning so much and have gained more confidence than I’ve ever had before. The sound is evolving and the production is becoming more complex, something you can hear from the first single to the last. It’s amazing to have it out there in the world. The purple road could represent a few things – the bruising of the past, the path to glory, or the road to ruin…”
The singer/songwriter brings his heavy heart and poignant soul to Sinatra’s iconic love song.
Despite sharing the same lyrics as the original, FERGUS’ “Strangers in the Night” feels like a brand new story, featuring new characters and a different plot. The scene is a dark, mellow haze; the outcome is uncertain, yet still meaningful and important. His “Strangers in the Night” is an infectiously catchy, soothing track that approaches love from a place of sadness, mourning, and hope. One gets the sense his love is left unfinished; that by the end, there is still work to be done.
Strangers in the night, two lonely people
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment when we said our first hello
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away,
a warm embracing dance away
Adding new depth to the lyrics and an intoxicating, breathy melodic line following “a warm embracing dance away,” FERGUS manages to completely detach “Strangers in the Night” from its best-known version, introducing listeners to a new song that feels eerily familiar, yet wholly fresh, intimate, and inviting.
For those who haven’t yet discovered FERGUS this year, “Strangers in the Night” is a perfect introduction that immerses us in his sound and style – one that is, to a great extent, defined by longing and sadness. “I think longing is a feeling that speaks to everyone, that everyone can relate to,” he reflects. “It’s such a powerful and consuming emotion that can be both driving and incapacitating, sometimes both at the same time. For me sadness is so often attached to longing, longing in love, longing to belong, for purpose and direction. I think what attracts me is that there’s much more to unpack with these feelings, they can be so complicated and also sometimes they can just be… wrong, but you feel them anyway.”
FERGUS continues, “I write about real emotions and let my feelings run wild, always striving to be original and using everything I’ve learnt from my classical background. I try to be painfully honest in my songs, and explore the sad and the often ugly – particularly the case on my next EP (out next year). Above all, I just want to make something beautiful with which people can really resonate.”
Ever since that night
We’ve been together
Lovers at first sight
In love forever
It turned out so right
For strangers in the night…
I could not have asked for a better version of “Strangers in the Night” to capture the immense power and weight of my wedding proposal. Of all the special songs my fiancée and I shared on that day, and in the time since, FERGUS’ “Strangers in the Night” deserves to be heard and enjoyed en masse. It will take your breath away, and it might leave you in tears; but its beauty, like love itself, is priceless.
Stream: “Strangers in the Night” – FERGUS
📸 © 2018