Tonight I watched the movie version of Gypsy starring Rosalind Russell, Karl Malden, and a young Natalie Wood. It wasn't that good of a film -- bloated and overdone -- but the music is outstanding. Julie Styne wrote the music and Steven Sondheim did the lyrics. You may recall that Sondheim also wrote the lyrics to West Side Story. Soon after he would go on to write musicals of his own.
My father has told me about seeing the original cast on Broadway with Ethel Merman and the way he described it it sounded spectacular. I wish I could have seen that. I have seen youtube videos of Merman singing "Some People" and believe me it is incredible. I have the utmost respect for Merman's singing even though she is a far cry from the jazz singers that I listen to. (Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson) She has a natural way of phrasing and of course the built-in megaphone of a voice.
Nevertheless, when you watch a musical, be it a great film such as Oklahoma or the Sound of Music, or flawed efforts such as Guys and Dolls, Carousel, and Gypsy (the films, not the shows) you are going to hear great melodies. Melodies that are so sweet and lyrical that you may cry. I defy you to listen to If I Loved You and hold back the waterworks.
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