Till There Was You

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Excerpt from the Wikipedia page on The Music Man:
The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash. In River City, Iowa, prim librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo sees through him, but when Hill helps her younger brother overcome his fear of social interactions due to his lisp, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold. Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her.

In 1957, the show became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances. The cast album won the first Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album”. The show’s success led to revivals and a popular 1962 film adaptation and a 2003 television remake. It frequently is produced by both professional and amateur theater companies.

The original cast recording was released by Capitol Records on January 20, 1958 in stereophonic & monaural versions and held the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for twelve weeks, remaining on the charts for a total of 245 weeks. The cast album was awarded “Best Original Cast Album” at the first Grammy Awards ceremony in 1958 and was inducted in 1998 as a Grammy Hall of Fame Award winner.[12]

Two songs from the musical attained greater popularity than the others and remain better-known today: “Seventy Six Trombones,” and “Till There Was You.”

music-man-shubert-theatre-playboard-1a

Till There Was You (Meredith Willson)

Meredith Willson-plays-1Excerpts from the “Till There Was You” page at Wikipedia:
The first recording of this song to be released came even before the original cast album version of January 1958. Promotional copies of the 45 rpm single, Capitol P3847, were released on November 26, 1957, even before the Broadway production had premiered on December 19. Produced by Nelson Riddle, it featured his orchestra and 17-year-old vocalist Sue Raney. An earlier version of this song, “Till I Met You”, was first recorded by Eileen Wilson in 1950 and later appeared on the January 14, 1951 edition of The Big Show, performed by Fran Warren. [I’ve been unable to find any recordings of this version.]

Selections from Wikipedia’s list of Other Versions:

  • In 1959, Anita Bryant recorded a single which reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #14 on the Cashbox Top 100.
  • In March 1961, “Till There Was You” was a minor hit in the UK for Peggy Lee.
  • Etta Jones recorded a version for her 1961 album, Something Nice.
  • In 1962, an instrumental version of Meredith Willson’s song by Valjean was also popular.[8]
  • In 1963, Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his RCA Victor Red Seal album Broadway… I Love You.[9]

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The Beatles’ version was included on their albums With The Beatles (UK release, 1963) and Meet The Beatles! (US release, 1964). The song was the only Broadway tune that the Beatles ever recorded.*

“Till There Was You” was a minor hit in the UK for Peggy Lee in March 1961. Paul McCartney was introduced to her music by his older cousin, Bett Robbins, who would occasionally baby-sit the two McCartney brothers.[1] McCartney said: “I had no idea until much later that it was from The Music Man.”[2] “Till There Was You” was part of the Beatles’ repertoire in 1962 and performed at the Star Club in Hamburg.[3] It became illustrative of the Beatles’ versatility, proving they could appeal to all sections of an audience, moving easily from ballads to rock and roll, as in their appearance on 4 November 1963 at the Royal Variety Performance when they followed this song with “Twist and Shout”.[4]

The Beatles had previously performed “Till There Was You” as part of their failed audition for Decca Records in London on 1 January 1962,[3] and it was the second of five the group sang during their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964.[5][4]

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Anita Bryant – 1959

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Joni James – from 100 Strings & Joni on Broadway, 1960

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Peggy Lee – 1961

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Etta Jones — from her 1961 LP Something Nice

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Shirley Jones and Robert Preston – from the  film version of The Music Man (1962)

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Sergio Franchi — from his 1963 album Broadway… I Love You

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The Beatles

Decca audition – 1 January 1962 

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Royal Variety Performance – 4 November 1963

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With the Beatles, track 6 —  The album was recorded 18 July-23 October 1963, EMI Studios, London, and released 22 November 1963. In the US, the song appeared on Meet the Beatles, released 20 January 1964.

Paul appears to adopt a Middle American accent on the word “saw” —  …but I never sawr them winging. No, I never sawr them at all…

(2009 stereo remaster)

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Ed Sullivan Show, 9 Feb 64

video to be replaced when available

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(below) When the Beatles return for the second segment of their Ed Sullivan Show appearance on 7 Feb 1964, the large arrow stage props seen in the photos above, and in the clip of Till There Was You, have been removed. The second stage design features metallic-looking framework structures, with oddly-placed wooden planks across them, above and on each side of the band, with Ringo again upon his own double-level circular platform.

From the Beatles’ first concert in the US, at the Washington Coliseum in DC, 11 February 1964

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Ouch! The Fab Four discovers that jelly beans are harder than jelly babies

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* “…only Broadway tune that the Beatles ever recorded.” I don’t know if this is true. While most of the covers recorded by the Beatles were of 1950s and early 1960s rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and vocal group originals, they also covered of a number of songs from the pre-rock ‘n’ roll Songbook era. Some of these had been regular and popular features of their stage sets in Liverpool and Hamburg. Among them were, “The Sheik of Araby” (1921), “Ain’t She Sweet” (1927), and “Bésame Mucho” (1940). None of the three just mentioned originated in Broadway shows. At the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany in 1962, the band also performed the standard “I Remember You,” which had been published in 1941 and introduced in the 1942 musical film The Fleet’s In.

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