The Show Tunes Soundtrack of My Early Years

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(above) Kristin Chenoweth singing Home from The Wiz on Glee

Yesterday I put together a playlist of my favorite Broadway songs. I couldn’t believe how many there were. I know the lyrics and tune of every song. As I keep telling everyone I meet, I’ll be fifty this weekend. When I think about the first half century of my life, three things define me: family, books, and music. My family—both of birth and the one my husband and I have created—all wish fervently I didn’t have quite such a deep love for bad 70’s songs and for that oft derided genre: the musical.

When I grew up, musicals were a staple of TV at its best. At least once a year, one of the three networks would show The Sound of Music (1965), Oliver (1968), My Fair Lady (1964), The King and I (1956), South Pacific (1958), Cinderella (1965), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), The Music Man (1957), Funny Girl (1968), The Wizard of Oz (1939), or West Side Story (1961). I watched these musicals over and over. These televised shows were part of life in the 1960’s and 1970’s—each family had, in general, just one TV and, when these shows were on, my siblings and I watched them. When I was twelve, my parents bought the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). I think I played a hundred times—the first song I ever sung in public was (I was just singing it loudly a moment ago!) I Don’t Know How to Love Him. The songs from those shows are the soundtrack of my early years—I didn’t get my own radio until I was 11 and didn’t buy a record of my own until I was 13. (Carole King’s Tapestry.)

I am sure many know lots of the songs on my playlist. Many of the songs from older Broadway shows are still sung today—every child in America can sing Do Re Mi and at least fifty covers of Summertime still sell on iTunes. But I love many of the lesser songs from both these older shows as well as from some newer productions. So, here’s my playlist of Broadway songs that aren’t as well covered and well known.

As Long as He Needs Me from Oliver

Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful from Cinderella

Bali Ha’i from South Pacific

Far from the Home I Love from Fiddler on the Roof

I Have a Love from West Side Story

For Good from Wicked

There are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease

Home from The Wiz

On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady

We Kiss in Shadow from The King and I

You Are Woman, I Am Man from Funny Girl

Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins

Till There Was You from The Music Man

Something Good from The Sound of Music

I’ve recently been exposed to several great Broadway songs that I didn’t know of while watching Glee. A few weeks ago, Chris Colfer, he of the truly astonishing voice, sang As if We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard. It took my breath away. What are others I’ve missed? What are your favorite songs from musicals?

– Dabney AAR

South Pacific/Bali Ha’i (Vocal) 4:32 8 of 19 Sarah Vaughan South Pacific Soundtrack 2/7/2011 9:47 AM MPEG audio file 5.2 MB 1986

6 thoughts on “The Show Tunes Soundtrack of My Early Years

  1. Jane AAR

    I’m not a broadway whiz but I did grow up on soundtracks. The “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” soundtrack was a favorite in long car trips in the family car. My favorite song: “That’s My New Philosophy” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSHB0ai4878) I also always loved the Secret Garden soundtrack, which sadly isn’t on youtube (that i can find).

  2. LeeB.

    Love love love “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music and “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Also not from a movie but Barbra Streisand’s version of “Memory” from Cats.

  3. DabneyAAR

    Some of my favorite Broadway tunes are covers. There’s a lovely version of West Side Story that has a bunch of popular artists doing the songs. Trisha Yearwood does a version of “I Have a Love” that is gorgeous. I’m also very fond of its “Maria” sung by Michael McDonald, James Ingram and David Pack. And almost all the showtunes sung on Glee are fab.

  4. Susan

    I love musicals! Jesus Christ Superstar is my favorite of all, and I could sing every word of that soundtrack, easily.

    Also Mary Poppins, Gigi, Grease, oh so many more…

  5. Jean AAR

    Oh my God, I remember that version of Cinderella! Ginger Rogers as the queen – most excellent.

    “Feed the Birds” – best song in the movie.

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