Song: The Nearness of You

Filed in Memoirs, Music, Music: My SongsTags: ,

My next am730 article is just about finished. Part 1 was published a week ago and Part 2 should be published next week. I'll post the full article here after am730 has published it.

This am730 article mentions a teacher I had the fortune to meet while studying at The Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles last year. Her name was Elizabeth and we had a wonderful time together. One of the songs I sang during class that she particularly liked was "The Nearness of You", a wonderful song published way back in 1937. I'm going to record some of my songs and post them here on the blog and I thought this song would be a good start.

This song was recorded in September of 2004, just after returning from Los Angeles. Both the piano and voice are mine. With only three months of piano in my pocket, it was the beginning of a new life in music for me.

I hope you like it.

The Nearness of You as sung by Gregory Charles Rivers, September 2004.

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43 Responses to “Song: The Nearness of You”
  1. John says:

    Hey congratulations on the song.

    Your delivery complements the piano arrangement very well.

    Looking forward to hearing more stuff from you!

  2. sapphire says:

    Glad to hear your song on your own site finally. What an attractive voice you have. I was deeply impressed by your self-study piano skills. How could you play a song like that just after a 3-month study? I played piano for a couple of years when I was small, but didn’t have enough patience at that time because it wasn’t my choice…it was my Mom’s. The first 2 months of my piano lessons were “一舊雲”. (LOL) You’re unbelievable.
    Have you ever composed any song?

  3. Flora says:

    I am utterly surprised as to how great you are not only with acting, but also with your musical talents. I was watching one of your older TVB drama series "Lady Flower Fist" and so decided to check out your website. Do keep up your great job! You have my support, cheers!

  4. anna says:

    great song Greg! i've never heard it before but i thoroughly enjoyed it! looking forward to hearing what else you've been working on.

  5. yinyin says:

    Wa.... i just come back from school, a bit blue as i could forsee i will get a bad mark for me maths yearly exam...
    But, seeing new updates brights me up. ^_^
    im waiting to download this song using 675bytes per second... but hopefully i will get this done before the internet starts to go crazy....
    Cya

  6. Kayin says:

    Hey .. Greg! Ha, my very first comment here, don't know what to call you. But, I'm waiting for the song to finish downloading, it's going at about 3.25 KB at the moment now, so I suppose I'm a bit better off than yinyin. Ha ha!

    If you haven't already forgotten the lyrics to Carry On Till Tomorrow, then please do record that for us! I really liked the scenes in HH III where you sang that song. Your voice was great and the lyrics were very nice too!

    The song's (The Nearness of You) on 91% now! I never learnt any instruments! My friend told me that instruments were useless, but I always thought that they were fun. I'm listening to your song now, Greg! I like your Aussie accent, ha ha. I'm Australian too, but I don't have the same accent. It's very nice! Thank you!

    And before I go, I have a quick message for yinyin: Ha ha, I have my Maths Yearly next Tuesday!

  7. yinyin says:

    T.T
    My one is still downloading......
    Because it got disconnected and i have to try it again....
    Damn... When i'm over 18, the first thing i do is join a 1.5mb/s internet plan and download every single thing i find on the internet. That is a bit crazy..... But the boiling anger....

  8. Joe says:

    very good! you could probably sell to a niche market in hk. personally I like the norah jones version much better. I'm in love with that song. Where do you record songs? Can you please tell me where to get the sheet music?

  9. ling says:

    Hey! such a great voice! post more~!

  10. Joanne says:

    This would be the second time I've heard you singing, the first time being the little bit on Healing Hands III. I just love how your Aussie accent comes through so strongly =P

    And three months of piano? That's impressive. After my first three months, I could pretty much only play "Twinkle Twinkle"....Disproves that theory that kids are meant to learn fast ;)

  11. Eileen says:

    is it possible to download the song onto my computer? I opened a new browser to play the song now. I really love the song, and your voice is great! good job, Greg =)

  12. 河國榮 says:

    Eileen,

    if you're using Windows, I think you can right-click on the link and choose something like Save As. if you using Mac, control-clicking the link will do the same thing.

    everyone,

    a little clarification. I've had contact with pianos on occasion throughout my life. there were a few times where I'd mess around trying to play chords or trying to play a song but I was never successful, never able to play anything. my encounter with the piano at L.A. was the first time ever that I was able to play a song, even if it was very very basic.

    please don't think that I'm a genius of any kind.

  13. Kayin says:

    Ha ha, yinyin, I can understand how you feel! Yes, I'm from Sydney. I'll be doing my SC in two years' time, ha ha. I'm only in year 8 this year. Um, my Yin is Canto. I think yours is Mandarin? I had an oral for History yesterday, LOL. I shook so much, I think everyone saw.

  14. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Greg. I'm from Vancouver and this is my first time visiting your website. I can't think of anything special to say at the moment. However, I really want to tell you that I'm extremely impressed with your talents in acting and singing. Although you've been living in HK for so many years, still, it amazes me ALOT everytime I see you speaking such fluent cantonese on TV. Anyway, keep up the good work, and take care.

  15. Edwin says:

    Good singing!!! Better than many singers in HK!!! Don't know whether you can dance??

  16. 河國榮 says:

    Edwin, I dance like a penguin ;-)

  17. Ian says:

    Wow.! Mr. Greg, you really does sings very well, Simon Cowell will loves you, you really should go for the Idol and you will win handsdown.. :)

    Hey, you must be kidding with me, i saw you danced very well in 'Into Thin Air' as William Hunter..

    Don't lie, lol.. :D

    By the way, Greg, did you picked the name, William Hunter yourself or TVB chosed that for you?

    Well, atleast not Paul, or Peter or anything 'p', Prue, Piper, Phoebe, whatever.. :D

  18. Eileen says:

    YAY! I've saved the file on my computer, thanks so much!!!

    I'm very much looking forward to read your articles on AM730, but I'm not in hk now, is there an online version?

  19. sue says:

    Wow both your singing and piano accompaniment are very good. As someone who has taken piano for almost 10 years, I feel so ashamed! Do you like Norah Jones? She recorded the same song in her debut album. Keep posting good music. =)

  20. yinyin says:

    ....
    我好想看阿荣DANCE呀, 都没看过, 应该很可爱巴就像PENGUIN一样!>.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I had the opportunity to listen to the song. Nicely done. There's an oldie 50's vibe to your voice. It's nice :)

  22. 小雲 says:

    hi grey
    its really impressive
    嘩..你都幾多材多藝喎..又拍戲..又唱歌..又彈琴..
    ur blog is nice n interesting..im lovin it:P

  23. 河國榮 says:

    Joe, the sheet music was in a book for the stage musical "The Scarlet Pimpernel". I first heard the song sung by Linda Eder who is one of my favourite singers.

    Kayin, I have had other requests for Carry On 'Til Tomorrow. I'll see what I can do. it'll have to be recorded from scratch because we filmed Healing Hands III at the Star Ferry pier in Central and my song was recorded live. if I record it again, I'll be sure to borrow a guitar and keep it simple as it was in the TV series (although I couldn't make it complex even if I wanted to ;-)

    Ian,

    Simon wouldn't love me. I get as nervous as hell on stage and can't do half the things those contestents do. did you see last year's Australian Idol? WOW! those guys (and girls) were absolutely amazing; Anthony, Cassie. great singers!

    dancing in the TV series was simple enough. it was just a waltz. don't ask me to dance disco. you'd have pain from the laughter. the name William Hunter was chosen by the script writers, one of the few times that I wasn't named Robinson or Paul ;-)

    Sue, I like Norah Jones a little but her first album was a little monotonous. we saw her first concert here in Hong Kong with a friend and ended up walking out half way through the show. the band was terrible; everyone was playing for themselves rather than working as a co-operative team.

    茵茵, I recorded the piano first and then recorded the voice. it would have been very difficult to record both at the same time with good results.

    Everyone, if you'd like me to sing any specific song, please let me know. I have no idea what the audience wants to hear and I'm always looking for suggestions. English, Cantonese and Mandarin are all fine.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Sing a Leslie song. The only Leslie song I know and LOVE is "怪你過份美麗" though.

  25. Ian says:

    You meant AI 2005 right? I watched that one, and i was actually watching the show for the very first time, i got hooked by one of the contestant, hehe, but, not Anthony Federov, to me he is no diference from those pop boys that we already have a lot in the music industry..

    Sorry for disagreed with you this time, Mr. Greg..

    By the way, i don't think Simon will not like you, and i believe you could do better than a lot of the contestants of AI actually. Hehe, just don't be nervous thats all.., easy for me to say, hard for you, isn't it..?

  26. Amy says:

    Great song ! Your voice is so hynotising, I kept on playing your song for 3 times this morning. Good job. Keep it up ! And post more !!

  27. sapphire says:

    河生,你好民主呀!可以讓我們點唱。最近聽了你唱三四首英文歌,下次可否唱廣東歌呀?除了你喜歡那兩位前輩歌手的歌外,你可否唱些近期 D 的歌手的歌?如克勤,”E 神” 陳 和基仔( Leo)的歌?基仔去年那首曾經很 hit 的 ”愛与誠” 很好聽及很舒情,應該適合你的唱歌路線。

  28. katas says:

    hey,

    i remember seeing you singing on TV show, it was like a Saturday singing competition among the TVB artists as a part of "週未任你點"? i love your voice and the way you sang and that was really great!

    pls keep on trying and you'll have your own record-CD one day!!

    supports!

  29. cat says:

    DEAR:河先生,

    你好嗎? 我係呀CAT!新加入既支持者,我好鐘意睇你做電視劇,而且我好欣賞你的

    做人方式,你不但好有愛心收養一些小動物,還有你專業既演技,簡直佩服!

    我剛剛寄了EMAIL給你,不知道你收到嗎?

    你最近忙什麼? 因為我不在香港,所以沒有留意到香港新聞及娛樂版啊!

    我只知道1月8日有遊行,係幫小動物的,可惜我不在香港,現在我身在澳門!

    ^^我都有養寵物,係北京狗;養了10年好老了!

    不過我隻狗咬我同我的家人,可能它小時候給我寵壞啦!

    但好開心公屋可以暫養寵物,如果唔係又會好多寵物無家可歸了!

    希望你可以多些用中文寫文章啦!我的英文唔好,所以好多有關你的事情睇唔到!

    不過我會慢慢習慣睇^^V!

    祝你:工作順利,生活愉快,身體健康,財源滾滾!(HAPPY NEW YEAR !)

    FROM:(永遠支持你^^)

    CAT上

  30. sammie says:

    hie mr. greg! *huggzz* i've been looking all over for you... lol... just kidding! ;) hehehee... anyway, i've just finished donwloading the song you sang...'the nearest of you' .... your voice...so nice and wonderful... *smiles* and...the piano part, you played that too? wow!...cool... and...your dance in 'Into thin air' was...brilliant! =D
    do sing more songs and upload for us okie? thanks a lot...
    greg, don't mind if i call you like that right? ^-^ uhmm...which part of Australia are you from by the way?

    ps: uhmm...this is my first post here...i...uhmm...dunno what to post about...so...guess i should start like that. =)

    cheers!
    -sammie-

  31. kyd says:

    Hi, I have bought this music score but it sounds worse than the one in your record. I wonder if you could email me a copy? Thanks

  32. 河國榮 says:

    kyd,

    I don't have a copy of the 'score' I played for this song. I can't read music so I read the guitar chords (ie, C, D flat, etc) and play freehand from there. this method works well for songs with great chord progressions but doesn't work really well for songs with simple monotonous chord progressions.

    in any case, there is no score that I can send you. sorry.

    regards,
    Ho Kwok Wing

  33. zuesel says:

    I am totally melted! Thanks for sharing! Such a BEAUTIFUL voice you have! Please write and song more for your fans!

    Although it's been my dream to play the piano, guitar, sing and perform, I've never the opportunity to do so.

  34. phyllis says:

    Hi, Mr Greg, I really love your song. It's so amazing. I do hope we can here more in the near future. We all proud of you. By the way I want to put your song in my blog. How can I do that? Please let me know. Thanks :)

  35. 河國榮 says:

    Zuesel and Phyllis, thank you both for your complements.

    Phyllis, it might be safer to place a link on your site instead. that way, you won't be asked to pay publishing/licensing fees for having the song on your site.

  36. 河國榮 says:

    Cat,

    thank you for the New Year wishes.

    I'll try to add more Chinese articles in the future ;-)

    Happy Chinese New Year to you and everyone else reading this.

    take care,
    Ho Kwok Wing

  37. catherine says:

    (Guess what, I got here from a google search on "rabbit" and see this blog.)

    Mr. Rivers,
    Couldn't help sending a comment as the song "The nearness of you" brought some old memories, I first knew it as a jazz piano piece from an old friend who is a great pianist/accompanist. He sent me the song (at the time he was my boyfriend), I was touched...although he sent only the "score" cause he was in England, and I was in Canada, anyway this happened 20 years ago, obviously I married someone else, I couldn't play as good as him, and didn't like the melody but he was still a very good old friend today.

    Still didn't quite like the melody, but you have a beautiful voice, very nice articulation! This seems to be a difficult song to sing or play.

    Hope your rabbit is doing well.

  38. BARRY YUEN says:

    Dear Gregory,
    Always happy to see you on screen of TV. I came across to search the web and found your web site. I am a jazz dance choreographer basd in HK and actively teaching master classes in RUSSIA and ast Europe( http://www.hk-jazzdance.org)
    I am also a lecturer for Italian Espresso and Coffee Barista trainer and teaching at St. James Settlement centre and COFFEE & TEA ACADEMY OF HK & CHINA ( http://www.coffee-tea.org).

    Hope to see you soon again either on TV or on stage.

    Take care,
    Barry YUEN

  39. Cat Lai says:

    do you mind if i save the song to my mp3 player? you have such golden voice and i can't wait to hear more. can you sing on tv? such as 歡樂滿東華.

  40. 河國榮 says:

    Cat,

    you can save it if you like. not a problem for me.

    歡樂滿東華? I'm thinking about it but it's rather complex. each year, TVB persuades its own artists to join a 'competition'. each artist has to try to raise as much money as possible for the charity. the top 10 competitors 'win' the right to perform a song on the charity's show. usually, they all perform within the same time period, and unfortunately, that time period is usually around 3am in the morning, when almost no-one is awake to see them!

    nonetheless, I'm thinking about joining this year, just to get the chance to sing on TV. I'd probably record in on video, recode it and then make it available on my site (and maybe someone else will put it on youtube?). we'll see...

  41. Fanny says:

    You have a really beautiful voice. Its one of those "makes me want to smile" kind of voices. Hope to hear more of it in the future.

  42. Amy says:

    Hi 河國榮
    I emailed you once before many many years ago to your TVB mailbox. I was so surprised that I got a reply from you. I feel that you are just like 發哥, a very friendly 親切 person, down to earth, 沒架子. I do visit your website from time to time to see how you're doing. Just listened to some of your songs, very nice very good. You can consider coming back to Australia to enter Australian Idol...ha ha...All the best.

  43. Tracy says:

    Very interesting. I am watching 'Lady Flower Fist' as well and decide to check out your info. Good song and good singing!