Thursday, May 16, 1996

May 16, 1946: Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway

Annie Get Your Gun

Irving Berlin (music & lyrics)

Cast Album

Stage Debut: May 16, 1946

Released: July 8, 1946

Peak: 2 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes


Charted: June 10, 1950

Peak: 18 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

Song Title (Performers)

  1. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  2. The Girl That I Marry (RAY MIDDLETON) *
  3. You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  4. There’s No Business Like Show Business (WILLIAM O’NEAL) *
  5. They Say It’s Wonderful (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  6. Moonshine Lullaby (ETHEL MERMAN) * c
  7. My Defenses Are Down (RAY MIDDLETON) *
  8. I’m an Indian, Too (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  9. I Got Lost in His Arms (ETHEL MERMAN) * c
  10. Who Do You Love, I Hope (ROBERT LENN) * c
  11. I Got the Sun in the Morning (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  12. Anything You Can Do (ETHEL MERMAN) *
  13. Overture (ETHEL MERMAN)
  14. Colonel Buffalo Bill (LESLIE FYSON)
  15. I’m a Bad, Bad Man (NEILSON TAYLOR)
  16. An Old-Fashioned Wedding (ETHEL MERMAN)

Above track listing based on 2000 Decca reissue. Songs with an asterisk (*) are on original 1946 cast album.

c Songs unique to cast album.

Songs on Soundtrack:

Song Title (Performers)

  2. Colonel Buffalo Bill (KEENAN WYNN) s
  3. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly (BETTY HUTTON/ CHILDREN’S CHORUS) *
  4. The Girl That I Marry (HOWARD KEEL) *
  5. You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun (BETTY HUTTON) *
  6. There’s No Business Like Show Business (HOWARD KEEL) *
  7. They Say It’s Wonderful (HOWARD KEEL) *
  8. They Say It’s Wonderful (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) s
  9. There’s No Business Like Show Business (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) s
  10. My Defenses Are Down (HOWARD KEEL/ MALE CHORUS) *
  11. I’m an Indian, Too (BETTY HUTTON/ MALE CHORUS)
  12. European Montage (THE MGM STUDIO ORCHESTRA) s
  13. Let’s Go West Again (BETTY HUTTON/ MALE CHORUS) s
  14. The Girl That I Marry (Reprise) (BETTY HUTTON) *
  15. I Got the Sun in the Morning (BETTY HUTTON/ CHORUS) *
  16. Together Again (THE MGM ORCHESTRA) s
  17. Anything You Can Do (HOWARD KEEL) *
  18. Finale/End Title (BETTY HUTTON) s

Above track listing based on 2000 Rhino reissue. Songs with an asterisk (*) are on original 1950 soundtrack.

s Songs unique to soundtrack.

Singles/Hit Songs:

As was common in the pre-rock era, songs from musicals were often recorded by artists not associated with the musical and released as singles. Here are some of the most notable hit singles resulting from the show:

  • ”Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly” – Freddy Martin (#2, 1946), Dinah Shore (#3, 1946), Jimmy Dorsey (#8, 1946)
  • ”They Say It’s Wonderful” – Frank Sinatra (#2, 1946), Perry Como (#4, 1946), Andy Russell (#10, 1946), Bing Crosby (#12, 1946), Ethel Merman (#20, 1946)
  • ”I Got the Sun in the Morning” – Les Brown (#10, 1946), Artie Shaw (#17, 1946)
  • ”The Girl That I Marry” – Frank Sinatra (#11, 1946), Eddy Howard (#23, 1947)
  • ”Who Do You Love, I Hope” – Elliot Lawrence (#9, 1946)
  • ”There’s No Business Like Show Business” – Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters & Dick Haymes (#25, 1947)


4.497 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

“Irving Berlin came from the old school of Broadway songwriters who did not write songs specifically for characters and plot points, but rather as independent numbers in shows that were more revues than book musicals per se.” WR-C However, when Jerome Kern died suddenly, Berlin was able to adapt and develop Dorothy and Herbert Fields’ Annie Oakley musical “in the spirit of integrated musicals that producers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had established with Oklahoma! only three years before.” WR-C

“Berlin’s songs for Annie Get Your Gun were all about character and plot, from the bawdy Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, in which Annie affirms the value of a common-sense barnyard education, to the witty Anything You Can Do, which illuminates her final confrontation and reconciliation with love interest Frank Butler. Ordinarily, that should have meant that the songs were less easy to extract for the hit parade, but in fact Berlin’s score produced more chart hits through cover versions than any Broadway score before or since.” WR-C

Oklahoma! had also established the popularity of original cast albums, and only ten days after the…Broadway opening, star Ethel Merman was in a recording studio with other members of the stage production to record 12 songs from the show…For reasons not yet explained, second leads Betty Ann Nyman and Kenny Bowers were not present, and for the recording of their duet Who Do You Love, I Hope?, they were replaced by Robert Lenn and Kathleen Carnes.” WR-C

“Merman and her co-star Ray Middleton were Broadway veterans of the pre-microphone era, experts at projecting their voices from the footlights to the rear balcony, and their stage styles carried over to the recording.” WR-C

“Merman, of course, possessed a clarion voice that was never better represented than in songs like ‘Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly’ and I Got the Sun in the Morning, while Middleton’s sonorous baritone informed The Girl That I Marry and My Defenses Are Down. And when the two got together on They Say It’s Wonderful and especially ‘Anything You Can Do,’ the belting reached near-bellow status.” WR-C

“But that isn’t to say the songs, crafted for the performers, didn’t support their interpretations. Berlin wrote simply and directly, his jokes broad, his emotions direct, and the singers hit his meanings as surely as they did his notes. The result was exactly what a cast album should be, an accurate representation of the music of a show. And since this show was a landmark in Broadway history, that made the cast album an important contribution to musical history as well as an aural delight.” WR-C

Four years after the musical, Annie Get Your Gun was turned into a movie. A third of the songs were dropped, but ten remained, including ‘Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,’ There’s No Business Like Show Business, and ‘Anything You Can Do.’ WR-S

MGM initially planned for Judy Garland, its biggest musical star, to step into Ethel Merman’s shoes. However, “her erratic behavior caused her to be suspended from the studio and the production to be shut down until Hutton was borrowed from Paramount.” WR-S “Betty Hutton brought her usual energy and effervescence to her portrayal, and Howard Keel, in his first major movie role, gave her strong support. The result was one of the biggest box-office hits of 1950.” WR-S

Notes: The 2000 Decca reissue of the cast album added four new songs. “‘Colonel Buffalo Bill’ and ‘I'm a Bad, Bad Man,’ were not recorded back in 1946, nor was an overture.” WR-C addition, “for the 20th anniversary revival in 1966, Berlin wrote a new song, ‘An Old-Fashioned Wedding’.” WR-C These four songs appear to be from “a 1973 British studio cast recording featuring Merman.” WR-C

The 2000 Rhino reissue of the soundtrack rounded out the original paltry 8 songs to a total of 31 songs, including the original recordings by Judy Garland before she was replaced by Betty Hutton.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 8/11/2008; last updated 12/21/2021.

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