Some songs are so good that they stay in our imagination and stand the test of time.
Though it goes without saying, there are plenty of songs and singer/songwriters who fit this description. Some of the real criteria for songs like this are ones that stick in our mind for a long time, songs that have a deep meaning that we can keep coming back to, and songs that can gain a new life when they’re interpreted or performed by other great artists. In particular, it’s always exciting when a newer artist with a powerful voices takes an older song and makes it their own.
And that’s exactly what Josh Groban recently did at Madison Square Garden.
For anyone who isn’t already familiar, Groban is a singer, songwriter, actor and record producer who has sold more than 25 million records worldwide.
His official debut came out in 2001 and eventually went double-platinum. He has released more albums since and is perhaps best known for his rendition of “You Raise Me Up,” a song originally performed by Irish-Norwegian pop band Secret Garden.
Though his many hits and memorable performances throughout the years, Groban has established himself as a singular artist with a warm, deep voice that he classifies as a lyric baritone. Regardless, few people have a voice that is as soulful as his.
And for those reasons and others, Groban’s performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has become a huge hit.
Though everyone probably knows already, the song was originally written and performed by Simon and Garfunkel in 1970.
In their original version, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is a heartfelt ballad about seeing oneself through all kinds of hardships in life. In their performance, the song is sung in a higher register and with a lighter touch. Because of all these qualities, it has a very intimate and direct feel to it. Still, Groban’s performance at Madison Square Garden called for a different approach.
While his voice is a lot deeper than Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel, it still fits the song perfectly!
As things start off, Groban announces the song and the crowd bursts into applause.
Groban begins singing and the energy in the room swells, accompanied only by his gentle piano accompaniment in the beginning. After he makes it through that part, there’s an entire string section that rises up to support him as well. Next, the percussionists join in! Before long, there’s an entire chorus helping Groban belt out the middle section.
Still, the performance isn’t quite over yet.
When he comes back in, the song begins to crescendo into its final high section.
Although Groban’s voice is typically suited to deeper notes, he brings plenty of power and depth to all the higher notes as well and hits them all perfectly!
After one last major crescendo, most of the accompaniment drops out and it’s back to just Groban and his piano. Shortly after that, he sings the last few lyrics, plays a few more notes on piano, and the performance is over.
Needless to say, the crowd bursts into applause!
The performance was captured on film for Groban’s live album and DVD set Josh Groban Bridges Live: Madison Square Garden.
His performance was captured on his sold-out tour in 2018 and is now available to the public for the first time.
Though you’ll need to pay for the whole package to see the entire show, Groban is also releasing videos and clips from the show on his YouTube channel so that audiences around the world can get a taste.
But for those who lived this performance, it’s also not the only stunning cover than Groban has pulled off in his long career.
If you’re a fan of classic musicals at all, you definitely owe it to yourself to listen to his powerful rendition of “Over The Rainbow” as well!
Though this one isn’t a live version, it does include a beautiful new piano arrangement and a pretty incredible vocal performance from Groban. As always, he brings his signature depth and roundness of sound to the song that gives it an entirely new feeling. Though we all probably grew up with The Wizard of Oz, hearing this new version gives us a chance to reimagine it!
If you were looking for a creative reimagining of it, check it out for yourself:
Though it goes without saying, Groban’s amazing singing talent is sure to entertain the world for many years to come!
While it takes plenty of talent to write a hit song, it takes a special kind of insight to breathe new life into an old work. In the case of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” Groban definitely achieved that—as all the fans gathered at Madison Square Garden that night can attest to! Do you have any artist covers that you love in particular? Which ones? Let us know in the comments below.
Congratulations to Josh Groban on an incredible performance! Check out the full video below:
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