Margaret Ulrich

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Escaping’

The song, “Escaping”, was originally recorded by Margaret Ulrich in 1989

“Escaping” is a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad with Far Eastern rhythms written by Barry Blue (b.1950) and Robyn Smith and recorded by New Zealand singer Margaret Ulrich (1965-2022) for her debut album “Safety In Numbers”, in 1989. The song was released as the first single and topped the New Zealand singles chart. It also peaked at No.17 in Australia and Margaret went on have numerous chart hits and certified albums ‘down under’ into the mid-1990’s.

Keen for the song to reach a wider audience, Barry Blue scouted about to find a voice or voices, and by 1992, found himself in the UK, where A&M Records were seeking to launch a new trio of female singers with the collective name of Asia Blue. Both Blue and A&M agreed “Escaping” would make a great debut single and embarked on a rigorous promotional tour that June. BBC Radio 1 picked up the song and gave it a more than generous airing and the stage was set for another chart topper. Sadly, for whatever reason, “Escaping” failed to find the audience it deserved and entered the UK singles chart at No.50, before disappearing out of sight. After releasing two further singles, Asia Blue were dropped by A&M and that was that.

It would be another four years before the song surfaced again, this time in the hands of British soul singer Dina Carroll, who already had a million-selling album and seven top 40 singles to her name. Dina, along with her producer Nigel Lowis, set about rewriting much of the song and eventually recorded it for her second studio album “Only Human”. It was released as the first single in September 1996 and entered the UK chart at No.3, equalling her previous chart high set in 1993 with “Don’t Be A Stranger”. The ‘new’ “Escaping” was also a big hit in Iceland and in Europe and helped to re-establish Dina after a three-year hiatus, becoming one of her biggest and most recognisable songs.

But which version is the best? MARGARET ULRICH’s original, ASIA BLUE’s cover or DINA CARROLL’s revamp?

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