Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21, 1959: Gypsy opened on Broadway

First posted March 22, 2011. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Gypsy (cast/soundtrack)

Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim (composers)

Opened on Broadway: May 21, 1959

Cast Album Charted: July 20, 1959

Soundtrack Charted: Dec. 15, 1962


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: 13 C, 10 S
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

C Cast Album
S Soundtrack

Quotable: “One of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form” – Wikipedia


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks – Cast Album:

  1. Overture
  2. Let Me Entertain You (JACQUELINE MAYRO/ KAREN MOORE/ ETHEL MERMAN)
  3. Some People (ETHEL MERMAN/ STEPHEN SONDHEIM)
  4. Small World (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN)
  5. Baby June and Her Newsboys
  6. Mr. Goldstone, I Love You (ETHEL MERMAN)
  7. Little Lamb (SANDRA CHURCH)
  8. You’ll Never Get Away from Me (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN)
  9. Dainty June and Her Farmboys
  10. If Momma Was Married (SANDRA CHURCH/ LANE BRADBURY)
  11. All I Need Is the Girl (PAUL WALLACE/ SANDRA CHURCH)
  12. Everything’s Coming Up Roses (ETHEL MERMAN)
  13. Together (Wherever We Go) (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN/ SANDRA CHURCH)
  14. You Gotta Get a Gimmick (FAITH DANE/ CHOTZI FOLEY/ MARIA KARNILOVA)
  15. Let Me Entertain You (SANDRA CHURCH)
  16. Rose’s Turn (ETHEL MERMAN)

Notes: “Rhino’s 1996 reissue of the soundtrack…is the third distinctly different edition of the soundtrack on CD. In contrast to the MCA version, which replicated the 1958 LP, or the 1991 version from Sony Music, which incorporated stretches of orchestrated dialogue, the producers of this CD had access to the unmixed music tracks from the original film elements. The result is a 42 song CD with 75 minutes of music, double the length of any prior version of the soundtrack” (Eder).


Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. Overture
  2. Small World
  3. Some People
  4. Baby June And Her Newsboys (Let Me Entertain You)
  5. Mr. Goldstone, I Love You
  6. Little Lamb
  7. You'll Never Get Away From Me
  8. Dainty June And Her Farm Boys
  9. If Mama Was Married
  10. All I Need Is The Girl
  11. Everything's Coming Up Roses
  12. Together Wherever We Go
  13. You Gotta Have A Gimmick
  14. Let Me Entertain You
  15. Rose's Turn
  16. Finale

First posted March 22, 2011. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Gypsy (cast/soundtrack)

Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim (composers)

Opened on Broadway: May 21, 1959

Cast Album Charted: July 20, 1959

Soundtrack Charted: Dec. 15, 1962


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: 13 C, 10 S
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

C Cast Album
S Soundtrack

Quotable: “One of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form” – Wikipedia


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks – Cast Album:

  1. Overture
  2. Let Me Entertain You (JACQUELINE MAYRO/ KAREN MOORE/ ETHEL MERMAN)
  3. Some People (ETHEL MERMAN/ STEPHEN SONDHEIM)
  4. Small World (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN)
  5. Baby June and Her Newsboys
  6. Mr. Goldstone, I Love You (ETHEL MERMAN)
  7. Little Lamb (SANDRA CHURCH)
  8. You’ll Never Get Away from Me (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN)
  9. Dainty June and Her Farmboys
  10. If Momma Was Married (SANDRA CHURCH/ LANE BRADBURY)
  11. All I Need Is the Girl (PAUL WALLACE/ SANDRA CHURCH)
  12. Everything’s Coming Up Roses (ETHEL MERMAN)
  13. Together (Wherever We Go) (ETHEL MERMAN/ JACK KLUGMAN/ SANDRA CHURCH)
  14. You Gotta Get a Gimmick (FAITH DANE/ CHOTZI FOLEY/ MARIA KARNILOVA)
  15. Let Me Entertain You (SANDRA CHURCH)
  16. Rose’s Turn (ETHEL MERMAN)

Notes: “Rhino’s 1996 reissue of the soundtrack…is the third distinctly different edition of the soundtrack on CD. In contrast to the MCA version, which replicated the 1958 LP, or the 1991 version from Sony Music, which incorporated stretches of orchestrated dialogue, the producers of this CD had access to the unmixed music tracks from the original film elements. The result is a 42 song CD with 75 minutes of music, double the length of any prior version of the soundtrack” (Eder).


Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. Overture
  2. Small World
  3. Some People
  4. Baby June And Her Newsboys (Let Me Entertain You)
  5. Mr. Goldstone, I Love You
  6. Little Lamb
  7. You'll Never Get Away From Me
  8. Dainty June And Her Farm Boys
  9. If Mama Was Married
  10. All I Need Is The Girl
  11. Everything's Coming Up Roses
  12. Together Wherever We Go
  13. You Gotta Have A Gimmick
  14. Let Me Entertain You
  15. Rose's Turn
  16. Finale

Review:

Critic Ben Brantley said Gypsy may be the greatest of all American musicals.” WK-C Frank Rich said it was “Broadway’s own brassy, unlikely answer to King Lear.” WK-C This 1959 tribute to burlesque was loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of famed striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. The story “casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life” WK-C by following Gypsy’s mother, Rose, and her efforts to raise her daughters as performers.

Producer David Merrick had read a selection of the memoirs in Harper’s Magazine and sought the rights, knowing Ethel Merman was looking for a starring vehicle. Arthur Laurents was tapped to write the book and Stephen Sondheim, with whom Laurents had worked on West Side Story, was brought in to write the lyrics after Irving Berlin and Cole Porter declined. Merman wanted Jule Styne to write the music, but Sondheim initially refused since he wanted to write the music and lyrics – that is, until he was persuaded to take the job by Oscar Hammerstein. WK-C

The talents of Styne, who represented broad show business entertainment, and Sondheim, who symbolized more “modern, dark, psychological drama,” MWR made for a perfect balance. It “was considered the definitive Merman performance and the crowning achievement of her long career.” MWR Theater critic Clive Barnes described Rose as “one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical.” WK-C

The musical, which ran for 702 performances, introduced “the Merman standard Everything’s Coming Up Roses, and the song that is invariably used to introduce anything having to do with the strip tease, Let Me Entertain You.” MWR

In 1962, it was made into a film directed by Mervyn LeRoy. In his book The Musical Film, Douglas McVay said, “Fine as West Side Story is…it is equaled and, arguably, surpassed – in a rather different idiom – by another filmed Broadway hit: Mervyn LeRoy’s Gypsy.” WK-S


Review Sources:

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Flamingos “Eyed” the charts 50 years ago (5/4/1959)

First posted 4/13/2020.

I Only Have Eyes for You

The Flamingos

Writer(s): Harry Warren (m)/Al Dubin (l) (see lyrics here)


First Charted: May 4, 1959


Peak: 11 US, 10 CB, 11 HR, 3 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 19.76 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

This Tin Pan Alley standard dates back to 1934 when it was introduced in the Busby Berkeley movie musical Dames by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. Cabaret singer Mary Cleere Haran called the song “one of the loveliest love songs written about big-city romance.” SS Ben Selvin took the song to #2 and Eddy Duchin and Jane Froman also charted that year with #4 and #20 versions respectively. PM A quarter century later, the Flamingos’ recorded it ““with elegant vocalizations and the otherworldly doo-bop-sh-bop.” RS500 It became “one of the most memorable hits of the doo-wop era.” TB

“There’s nothing about [their version of] this record that really relates to Ben Selvin’s or anybody else’s.” MA The song is marked by “its warm, ethereal backing vocals, the gently nagging, piano-led arrangement, and, most importantly, [Sollie] McElroy’s lilting lead vocal about a love that ‘must be a kind of blind love.’” TB

“Dubbed ‘The Sultans of Smooth,’ this Chicago quintet” RS500 formed in 1950, becoming “one of the greatest vocal groups of the doo-wop era.” RS500 In fact, in the liner notes for Rhino’s Doo-Wop Box, Bob Hyde said they were “possibly the finest R&B vocal group ever to record.” SS They displayed broad influences including “gospel..and the silken pop harmonices of the Mills Brothers and Four Freshmen as well as R&B-oriented groups.” MA By the end of the ‘50s, they’d “honed their onstage dance routines in the manner of 1960s groups like the Temptations” TB and, in fact, were a “clear influence on the Motown Sound” TB of that decade.

In 1975, Art Garfunkel recorded a version which hit the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a #1 song on the adult contemporary chart and in the UK. It was also recorded by George Benson, Jerry Butler, the Lettermen, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra. The Fugees sampled the song on “Zealots” for their 1996 album The Score. SF


Resources and Related Links:

  • The Flamingos’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 348-9.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 517.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 305-6.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 37.
  • WK Wikipedia