Wednesday, April 22, 2009

#84: Something Good

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth
For here you are standing there loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
Gentle readers: know that I would not post just any Sound of Music number on this list. This is a special one, written later than most "standards" (1965) and a Richard Rodgers song with an unusual lyricist (himself). Since his long-time collaborator, Oscar Hammerstein II, passed away right after Mary Martin opened on Broadway as Maria, Rodgers was on his own when Sound of Music hit the big screen with Julie Andrews, and he replaced "An Ordinary Couple" from the stage production -- with which he and Hammerstein had apparently always been dissatisfied -- with "Something Good." While I absolutely love the earnest, confessional nature of this near-hymn and like to think of it as a plaintive reply to The King and I's "Something Wonderful," it's a little weird for Maria to sing it; sure, she's a nun who's a free spirit (and has a great voice, so why not use it?), but Captain Von Trapp is the jerk in the relationship. It works better when Elaine Stritch used it poignantly as the encore of her one-woman show, At Liberty; after pouring out her life history of drunken missteps, she thanks the audience for a blessed career despite it all.

For a slowed-down jazzy glimpse of "Something Good," check out Adrian Sicam on Microsoft Music. Or watch Karen Walker be silly on Will & Grace.

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