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"Only He" is the original show-stopping 11th hour solo for Pearl the Observation Car. In 2003 Lloyd Webber decided to re-introduce "Only He" as a duet in the 2003 US tour. See here for Duet version.

Context

During the fighting in the Championship Final race, Pearl has been injured by Electra, and her life put at risk by Greaseball uncoupling her at speed. It was only through the selfless act of Rusty turning away from the race to save her that she has survived. Now, alone and convinced she's caused Rusty to lose the race, she reflects on her actions. At the end of the number, Rusty finds her and together they sing a reprise - "Only You".

Technically and emotionally very demanding, the song was written as a showcase for Stephanie Lawrence, who released it as a single (polydor, 1984) with unfortunately little chart success. The number was modified into the duet Only You for the 1987 New York production and subsequent productions. The crucial difference between versions is the mid section involving downward octave leaps and a modulation ("Only He can make my burden light"), not included in "Only You".

Many of the big numbers in the original production of Starlight Express were written and recorded with half an eye on chart success, following the phenomenal hit of "Memory" from Cats some 3 years earlier. Unfortunately, possibly because of the conscious effort to create "a hit", no single song from Starlight Express stood out and achieved the public recognition so desired.

The familiar version of "Only He" released on the Original Cast Recording and as a single was not, in fact, quite the same as the version used in performance. The first verse was re-written to scan out of the context of the show, unfortunately the replacement lyrics are in direct contradiction to the context of the show.

Actual performance lyrics:

Known him for a lifetime, knew him not at all
Thought there was nothing special about him
Suddenly I see him shining like a star
And don't know how to live without him

Single release lyrics:

Look at me, a woman, calm and in control,
No silly girl whose head's always turning,
Nobody would guess that deep inside my soul,
a brand new flame is burning.

It is apparent immediately how the single release lyrics do not work in context, Pearl is in every way a "Silly girl whose head's always turning", first by Electra, then Greaseball, even distracted by the suave National Engines choosing race partners. Equally the "Known him for a lifetime, known him not at all" describes perfectly Pearl's established friendship with Rusty, while never having realised that he was a potential love interest.

Video

Stephanie Lawrence - "Only He" from Starlight Express04:13

Stephanie Lawrence - "Only He" from Starlight Express

Stephanie Lawrence in Concert, 1984

Lyrics

Pearl: Look at me a woman, calm and in control
No silly girl whose head's always turning
Nobody would guess that deep inside my soul
A brand new flame is burning
Only he has the power to move me
And together we'd make the whole world move in sympathy
But I couldn't see before,
That only he has the power to move me
Take me, hold me, mold me, change me and improve me
It's not funny anymore
Only he can make my burden light
Only he can make a wrong seem right
Only he can make the shadows bright
And make the darkness gleaming white
He
Him and me
Only he has the power to move me
All the nights I've wasted dreaming of the time
When I'd discover the one to guide me
Searching the horizon, didn't realize
That all the time he was beside me
Only he has the power to move me
And together we'd make the whole world move in sympathy
Hope and pray that I'm in time
Only he can stand and wait that long
Stand by me while I was going wrong
What if he couldn't wait?
Have I left it too late?
Only he has the power to move me
And together we'd make the whole world move in sympathy
Him and me we'd be sublime
Can he see or will he never guess
That next time I'm gonna answer yes
Does he know if he comes back today,
This time I'm gonna make him stay?
He
Only he
Only he has the power every day, every hour
He moves me

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