Like a number of ‘local’ acts, Bruce Millar was actually born in what was then Rhodesia. But he moved to SA and his musical career took off then, so I have regarded him as a local lad. Not only did he have a successful career as a musician with 2 top 20 hits (including ‘1 Won’t Give Up) he also won a Gallo award for his role as Jesus in the musical Godspell.
‘I Won’t Give Up’ was an English version of an Italian song called ‘Inno’ which was recorded by Mia Martini in 1974. That original is a quiet, almost classical hymn like affair, but Millar’s version is more rock ballad with a march like beat to it. There is an organ and piano that underpin the song while Millar’s strong vocal (similar to Alan Garrity) add extra oomph to this strong rock-pop tune. The song is a builder, starting somewhat quietly, but with each verse, more is added to the mix with lush orchestration, an electric guitar and then backing vocals which give power to the track.
‘I Won’t Give Up’ spent 19 weeks on the Springbok Radio Top 20 and 6 of those weeks were at the top spot. The song also topped the charts in Rhodesia. Millar, who has also won a SARI for best male vocalist, has become one of the stalwarts of the SA Entertainment scene, doing a lot of work as a broadcaster. He was born in 1945 and is still going so it seems he meant it when her said, ‘I Won’t Give Up’.
Where to find it:
Yesterday’s Best Vol 1, 1995, Teal, MORCD502