Friday, October 26, 2018

The Friday 5: 5 Title Songs: 1964 - 1970

Broadway musicals throughout history are known for their eleven o'clock numbers, mid-show ballets and jaw-dropping production numbers. I have my favorites in all categories. But I have special place in my heart for title songs. ([title of show], does not have a title song!) When I was making my list for this week's five, I just couldn't narrow it down to only five, so I compromised and made five lists of five! As it is, I still left out several favorites. For better or for worse, here are my five favorites between 1964 - 1970.

The Friday 5
The 5 Best Broadway Title Songs
1964 - 1970

HELLO, DOLLY! (Opened January 16, 1964 at the St. James Theatre)

Perhaps the granddaddy of them all, Jerry Herman sure knew his way around a title number - Mame, Dear World and La Cage aux Folles all have memorable title tunes. Here is the greatest Dolly of them all, Carol Channing, wow, wow, wowing an audience on tour decades ago.

CABARET (Opened November 20, 1966 at the Broadhurst Theatre)

It's no surprise that this show has a great title number.  After all, this score has it all - a dazzling opening number, great production numbers and a couple of great ballads. Here is the late Natasha Richardson in her Tony-winning turn from 1998.

HAIR (Opened April 29, 1968 at the Biltmore Theatre)

The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical was a game changer back in the 60's, and even today packs an emotional and political punch. Rebellion and non-conformity with the one thing the Tribe members have complete control over are celebrated in the joyous title song. Here are Gavin Creel and Will Swenson leading the fantastic 2009 revival cast at the Tony Awards.

PROMISES, PROMISES (Opened December 1, 1968 at the Shubert Theatre)

If Hair had its fingers on the pulse of the psychedelic sound, this Bacharach-David charmer had its eyes on the pop music trends of the day. A number of songs from the shown became big mainstream hits, many by Dionne Warwick. Short and catchy, I love singing along to this one! Here's Sean Hayes from the 2010 revival.

COMPANY (Opened April 26, 1970 at the Alvin Theatre)

The cast recording of this show was my first introduction to Stephen Sondheim. And the title track on the album was probably the first Broadway tune I studied. I played it over and over and over, committing each "Bobby, Bobby Baby, Bobby Darling" to memory. I drove my family crazy with it. Here's the 2011 New York Philharmonic Concert version with Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, and Martha Plimpton among many others under the baton of Paul Gemignani.


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