Friday, 25 January 2013


This week’s prompt at GBE2:Blog On is ‘Music’.
Where do I start with music? After all, I remember the start of rock and roll with Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ in the mid-50’s, I lived through the Elvis era, the Beatles era – and everyone else since then. I remember the days of the gramophone and 78rpm records made of shellac that broke if you dropped them.
So I have a lot of musical memories. Many songs stir up memories of different events and times in my life. Probably my favourite of all time is ‘A Certain Smile’ by Johnny Mathis. I only have to hear the intro to that, and I’m transported back to my teens…
If you looked at my pile of CDs, you’d soon discover the breadth of my taste in music – the Three Tenors sit side by side with country music, Irish songs, music from the movies, Edith Piaf, Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Elvis and Alfie Boe.
However, one genre dominates – musicals, both stage and screen.
I only have to hear the start of ‘O-o-o-kla-homa – where the wind comes sweeping down the plain’ and I’m back in the theatre where I first saw the stage version of this, which began my lifelong love of musical theatre.
I can’t sing to save my life, but I spent many years working backstage with the local amateur Musical Theatre, and so many songs from the shows bring back memories, far too many to list here, but here’s one:
‘Take me back the Black Hills’ from ‘Calamity Jane’ – the chorus members are parading up the theatre aisle, harmonising beautifully. On stage, behind the curtains, I’m rushing around madly, trying to find the American flag to disguise the bar from the previous scene. It isn’t where it should be, but the curtains are due to open as the first members of the chorus reach the bottom of the steps leading to the stage. Two seconds to go, and I finally locate the flag and hang it in place, slinking off the stage just as the curtains sweep open—and then taking the rest of the scene to get my breath back, and my heart beat to return to normal.
Currently, the music of ‘Les Miserables’ is top of the pile. I’ve seen the stage show ten times, and the movie twice (so far!), and rushed out to buy the movie soundtrack earlier this week. As I write this, ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ is making all the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end…


  1. When I hear 'Oooooohklahoma' I immediately think of my nan. She used to sing that and one about Alice and the garden path/gate? Love me some musicals. Bit of a penchant for French ones, Cabaret, Camelot, King & I, South Pacific... I could go on :)

  2. Thanks, Claudia!

    Gilli - Alice and the garden path? That's a new one for me!
    I have so many favourite musicals, so it's hard to decide which ones top the list (after Les Mis, of course!)

  3. Ohhhh, I love musicals! The Les Miserables movie was fabulous, and I love this selection from it. A few of my favorite musicals are South Pacific, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Singing in the Rain. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Joyce, agree about the Les Mis movie, I loved it (seen it twice so far)
    I've never actually seen 'How to Succeed..' but love the other two, and all the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals - think Carousel is my fave.

  5. I love all of your choices (the soundtrack of my life !) and I was delighted to find someone else who is a fan of Neil Diamond ! In The Jazz Singer when he went home and sang in the Synagogue and his father heard his voice ! Gulp ! And Hava Nagila has to be the happiest celebration song ever ! And Gene Kelly 'Singing in the Rain' has to be the best song and dance number ever ! And I was lucky enough to see the original Les Miserables cast so Colm is my favourite .... so far !

  6. Hi Lyn, I saw Colm in the original too, but also loved Alfie Boe in the 25th Anniversary Concert. And now there's Hugh Jackman. I'm finding it difficult to decide on my all-time favourite, as they all bring something different to the role.

  7. Love your post about musicals, Paula. Hmmm, I wrote mine on musicals, too. Didn't peek at yours. Honest!

    I remember helping backstage in high school for a production of Oklahoma. To this day, I hear a song from it and I'm transported right back to those teen years which is both good and bad. ;)I still have a bad memory of trying to help with costumes and putting some ruffles on some shirts with that glue stitching stuff since I wasn't much of a sewer. The results weren't very good. The teacher in charge didn't have the heart to tell me how bad they were. I remember getting a surprise to see them wearing other shirts and realizing that they hadn't used mine.It would have been better if she told me right out. Either way, it would have stung but I wouldn't have anticipated seeing them wearing them. Wow, sorry to go on so much about it. See, it still stings. These memories stay with us.

    Aren't musicals the most wonderful things?

    I went to Les Miz for a third time last night since hubs and the boys wanted to go to Djano the unchained which I had no interest in.

    Enjoyed it for the third time. Guess that's enough for now until I buy the DVD later. Heheh!

  8. Cathy, I wish you and I could get together to talk about musicals!
    Sorry your costumes didn't work out, what a disappointment when you ddidn't see them being worn :-(
    I worked as Wardrobe Mistress for one amateur society - which was ironic as I didn't like sewing! Fortunately most of the costumes were hired, but I still had to sew on buttons and mend split seams etc!