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What Cast Albums Give That Soundtracks Don’t

So the film version of Nine didn’t do so well, did it? For many of us, the biggest problem was that so much of the score was cut. “Only with You, “The Grand Canal,” “Simple,” “Not since Chaplin,” “The Bells of St. Sebastian,” “Be on Your Own,” “The Germans at the Spa,” “Getting Tall” and – Good Lord! — even the title song. It wasn’t much of a musical once all that music was dropped – and it wasn’t much of a soundtrack album, either.

That brings up one of the best aspects of choosing cast albums from stage shows over soundtracks from movies: You get far more music on a cast album. Aside from My Fair Lady and a few other musical films, Hollywood has amputated or replaced songs from many a Broadway score.

So what are the best songs that cast albums offer that soundtracks do not? There are easily more than a hundred, but I’ve whittled my personal favorites list down to 50. I’ve ranked them, too, according to my own subjective preference which, of course, will be different from yours.

I’m giving my bottom 25 this week, and my top 25 next week, working my way up from Number 50 to Number 1. This will give YOU a chance to guess what I’m going to put up next week – or cite the ones that you feel MUST be on the Top 25.

Notice that I’m NOT including “Together” (Gypsy), “The King of Old Broadway” (The Producers), “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” (Hairspray), and “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” (The King and I) among others, because these songs ARE on the soundtrack albums; they just didn’t appear in the film. What’s more, I’m not including anything from Fanny and Irma La Douce, for those films were conceived as non-musicals from Day One (more’s the pity) — and because they’d take up more than half the list.

My bottom 25:

50. “Something Was Missing” (Annie) – A nice opportunity for Annie and Daddy to bond (even if Charles Strouse originally wrote it as an up-tempo song that Lee Adams called “You Rat, You” in The Night They Raided Minsky’s).

49. “Salzburg” (Bells Are Ringing) – Fun to hear the voice that in 15 years everyone would know as Edith Bunker’s.

48. “To Each His Dulcinea” (Man of La Mancha) – Aren’t too many songs sung by priests in musicals (nuns, yes, but priests no), but this is a particularly lovely one.

47. “Dead End” (Hair) – Nice bass line, as they say in the rock world.

46. “Is It a Crime?” (Bells Are Ringing) – Filmed, but cut just before the movie’s release.

45. “The Game” (Damn Yankees) – In which the ballplayers showed they had more than heart.

44. “The Love of My Life” (Brigadoon) – People who think this show is square probably don’t know this semi-ribald song.

43. “How Can I Wait?” (Paint Your Wagon) – A lifelong tomboy discovers there’s something to be said for a man, too.

42. “Spanish Rose” (Bye Bye Birdie) – What a neat Chita achievement.

41. “Meeskite” – (Cabaret) — A pretty song about ugly ducklings.

40. “Sam and Delilah” (Girl Crazy) – Okay, not quite a cast album, but when Mary Martin decides to make a recording, attention must be paid.

39. “Boy, What Love Has Done to Me” (Girl Crazy) – Ditto.

38. “The Highest Judge of All” (Carousel) — Billy Bigelow demands to see the Man at the Top.

37. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) – Another rare instance of a title song dropped.

36. “On the S.S. Bernard Cohn” (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) — Hear one Barbara do what another Barbra didn’t.

35. “What’s Goin’ on Here?” (Paint Your Wagon) – Feminine innocence has never sounded so jaunty.

34. “Tosy and Cosh” (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) – Composer Burton Lane was really able to create a medieval feeling.

33. “Now I Have Everything” (Fiddler on the Roof) – Maybe a little pop-py for Anatevka, but a good song.

32. “It’s High Time” (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) – Nice pun on “high” during this Prohibition Era – meaning both “at last” and “drinking.”

31. “So What?” – (Cabaret) – Miss Lotte Lenya and a rueful waltz.

30. “Keeping Cool with Coolidge” (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) – A Charleston that was right for the stage show’s era.

29. “Remember?” (A Little Night Music) – Who but Sondheim would – or could — rhyme “boa” with “so a-dept?”

28. “Lonely Room” (Oklahoma!) – When we see what’s really on Jud Fry’s mind.

27. “Carried Away” (On the Town) – Too bad the song was, too.

26. “No Way to Stop It” (The Sound of Music) – And next week, we’ll see how 25 superior songs could find no way to stop being cut from the film versions of Broadway musicals.

Meanwhile, last week I gave a Broadway Sports Quiz. Did you get all of the 25 answers to the questions?

1. “Just when the fun’s beginning, comes the final inning.” (“Some Other Time” – On the Town)

2. “Her skin is tender as DiMaggio’s glove.” (“Bloody Mary” – South Pacific)

3. “Here’s to Tin Pan Alley, a Yankee rally, a show like Sally.” (“Homesick Blues” – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

4. “Now this is no bum steer: It’s from a handicapper who’s real sincere.” (“Fugue for Tinhorns” – Guys and Dolls)

5. “Land of the free, home of the brave, home of the Red Sox.” (“Boston Beguine” – New Faces of 1952)

6. Just say, ‘Bunt?! Are you nuts? With one out, two men on base, and a left-handed batter coming up, he’ll walk right into a triple play, just like it happened in the fifth game of the World Series in 1923.” (“One Hundred Easy Ways” – Wonderful Town)

7. “Instead of praising our goulash, they’re out praising the plays of Willie Mays.” (“Six Months out of Ev’ry Year” – Damn Yankees)

8. “At the gate are all the horses waiting for the cue to fly away.” (“Ascot Gavotte” – My Fair Lady)

9. “This act could play the Palladium, or even the Yankee Stadium.” (“Just in Time” – Bells Are Ringing)

10. “You’re the gold-medal kid with the heavyweight crown.” (“Jet Song” – West Side Story)

11. “They take bows, and you’re battin’ zero.” (“Rose’s Turn” – Gypsy)

12. “From the pitchers to the hitters, from the babies to their sitters.” (“Here’s Love” – Here’s Love)

13. “Bank on Friday? Golf on Saturday? Church on Sunday?” (“Simple” – Anyone Can Whistle)

14. “Don’t get lost at Korvette’s, or get signed by the Mets.” (“Come Back to Me” – On a Clear Day You Can See Forever)

15. “That’s right! Not bad! Karate can be lots of fun!” (“Pow! Bam! Zonk!” – It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman!”)

16. “We will show you we’re the best team in the very Little League this year.” (“T-E-A-M” – You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

17. “The Mets are winning, 3-to-1. The infield shows a lot of strength.” (“You and I, Love” – 70, Girls, 70)

18. “Took her bowling, in the arcade.” (“Summer Nights” – Grease)

19. “I was always running around shouting, ‘Gimme the ball, ‘Gimme the ball, ‘Gimme the ball, yeah!’” (“Hello, Twelve, Hello, Thirteen, Hello, Love” – A Chorus Line)

20. “Have an instructor here at noon — oh, and get that Don Budge fellow if he’s available.” (“I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here” – Annie)

21. “My backhand is clearly my forte. Shall we say the ball is in your court?” (“The Tennis Song” — City of Angels)

22. “Who would believe I’m enough of a fool to be taking the plunge after draining the pool?” (“Who Would Have Thought?” – The Goodbye Girl)

23. “It’s Braves and Giants, two to two; the pitcher’s name is Hub Purdue.” (“What a Game!” – Ragtime)

24. “We’re two of a kind, a perfect pair, a knockout in the ring.” (“Two of a Kind” – The Wild Party)

25. “The fake, the spin, the drive and then he’s in the paint. The pump, the jump, and he’s up in the air.” (“Michael Jordan’s Ball” – The Full Monty)

Also check out Peter’s column each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at