It’s been seven amazing years since Phillip Phillips first appeared on our TV screens on American Idol. In the time after his win, Phillip has toured tirelessly, given us one incredible cover after another, performed at unforgettable shows such as Rock in Rio and the Capitol Fourth, all the while also admirably fighting for his integrity as a musician and artist. Best of all, Phillip has also released three albums that have clearly shown his ability to move with ease from the memorable, radio-friendly singles to the more experimental, darker, but equally effective deep cuts. The challenge: pick seven songs that speak the most to us from the last seven years. This is no easy task, but we will try nonetheless.
We’ll start with our pick for number seven, the second single from Phillip’s first album, The World From the Side of the Moon, and the song that had the difficult job of following on the footsteps of the hugely successful “Home”: “Gone Gone Gone.”
Co-written by Derek Fuhrmann, Todd Clark, and Gregg Wattenberg (who also produced it), “Gone Gone Gone” featured a warm, rousing melody that was further propelled by sweet and sincere lyrics about a deep, unconditional love. Similar to “Home,” “Gone Gone Gone” resonated with fans because of these lyrics, their universal message applicable to anybody who has ever loved someone, essentially all of us. “Gone Gone Gone” was officially released as a single on February 11, 2013; a video for the song was released only a few days later, on February 15, 2013.
In addition to many live recordings made during radio and TV appearances in early 2013 (including on Ellen and American Idol), at least three official versions of the song exist: the original studio version, the live recording on Phillip’s Live album, and the version on the iTunes Session compilation. Out of all of these however, our favourite is still probably an unofficial, very early performance of the song which happened just a couple of days before the release of The World From the Side of the Moon on November 19, 2012.
That October, after causing major destruction across the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy devastated huge areas of the eastern coast of United States, including across New York state. While in New York that fall, Phillip joined forces with the elementary school PS22 Chorus to raise funds for the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
In the video of this performance, in fact a recorded rehearsal, a beaming Phillip sings “Gone Gone Gone” accompanied by the chorus, made of the most incredibly talented 10 and 11-year-olds. The magic starts the minute Phillip starts to play the gentle opening melody on his guitar, and then blossoms into a musical moment so joyful and pure that transcends the simplicity of the event and the setting. It gave us chills then, and still does today.
It would be an understatement to say that this was an exciting time for Phillip Phillips’ fans–specially those who had faithfully followed his career for the last eleven months: We were only days away before The World From the Side of the Moon, an album full of Phillip Phillips’ written or co-written songs, would be in our hands for the first time. Hearing “Gone Gone Gone” during that performance was not only beautiful and moving, it was also a great indication of the spirit of the music that was to come.
Featured photo by Rachel R.