Thursday, July 28, 2011

All I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Musicals

The very first movie I ever remember seeing was The Sound of Music. It was on VHS, dubbed entirely in Farsi (including the songs), and I loved it.

I still love it. I grew up watching musicals and I have a very, very soft spot for them. It recently occurred to me that some of the best platitudes I ever heard have come in the form of a song smack in the middle of a movie musical.

Here are just a few:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Don't dream it, be it.

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.

The Sound of Music
So, let them bring on all their problems.
I'll do better than my best.
I have confidence they'll put me to the test.
But I'll make them see I have confidence in me.

West Side Story
There's a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we're halfway there.

Beauty and the Beast
Bittersweet and strange,
Finding you can change,
Learning you were wrong.

The Jungle Book
And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found.
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it,
I'll tell you something true:
The bare necessities of life will come to you.

Curtain up! Light the lights!
You got nothing to hit but the heights!
You'll be swell. You'll be great.
I can tell. Just you wait.

What about you? Any musical lyrics that inspire you?

And be honest, how many of these songs are stuck in your head now?


  1. Oh, YES!

    When I was young, my mom bought music LPs and I played them over and over and over, ad infinitum: The Sound of Music; My Fair Lady; The Jungle Book; Peter Pan; Lady and the Tramp; Sleeping Beauty (we were heavy into Disney, can you tell). I grew up singing them to myself and believing in all they said.

    I'm glad someone else did the same...

  2. LOVE this! :)

    Though it didn't really teach me anything, I've got to throw out a oldie favorite - Horace Vandergelder's "It Takes A Woman" from Hello Dolly:
    "It takes a woman, all powdered and pink,
    To joyously clean out the drain in the sink..."

    And one of my favorite lyrics from Legally Blonde The Musical (yes, I know):
    "The day you broke my heart, you handed me the chance,
    To make a brand-new start; you helped me find my way,
    There's still so much to learn, so many dreams to earn,
    But even if I crash and burn ten times a day,
    I think I'm here to stay,
    I'm gonna find my way."

    What a nice blog! I found you via Twitter. :)

  3. Thanks, Sarvenaz! My WIP needed a boost of "I Have Confidence" this morning! And yes, I will be humming it all day.

  4. I've always been a Rocky Horror fan but I've never really thought about the Don't Dream It, Be It philosophy beyond the movie. I love it. Thanks for making RH relevant and not just a purely fun romp!

    (and thanks for the earworm; the soundtrack will be swirling around in my head all day)

  5. One of my earliest musical memories is watching Oklahoma on VHS with my parents at our beach house and then going to the boardwalk and renting a surrey with fringe on the top. We then commenced singing songs from Oklahoma as we pedaled along. One of my most instant feel good lyrics comes from that remarkable show:

    Oh, what a beautiful Mornin'
    Oh, what a beautiful day.
    I've got a beautiful feelin'
    Everything's goin' my way.

    When I walk out of my apartment in the morning to a beautiful day, and those lyrics pop in my head, I know it's going to be a great one.

  6. Suzanne, there was a lot of Disney in my childhood too! Loved those movies.

    Welcome, Joy! I love your blog, too!

    Katy, that song has definitely come through for me a number of times.

    Joanne, I find that some of my fave musicals are the ones that are funny/silly but with surprisingly heartfelt messages. I think that's why 'Book of Mormon' is so successful too.

    Jenny, I totally almost put that song on here! And then, sometimes, you stumble across Hugh Jackman singing those lyrics and for one brief moment the world seems to be just about perfect. :-p

  7. Always had two favorites:

    "Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

    "Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile."

    These aren't Disney or Broadway related, though, who knows, maybe a Grateful Dead musical is in the works. I expect it to be seven hours long, complete with only three songs. I've got my tickets already.

  8. Graig, I have to admire you for your dogged determination to make the Grateful Dead relevant to this post.

  9. Eponine totally got me through high school - all that angsty he-doesn't-love-me-he-loves-someone-else stuff. Oh Eponine. Oh Les Mis.

    On my own, pretending he's beside me.
    All alone, I walk with him till morning.
    Without him, I feel his arms around me,
    and when I lose my way I close my eyes, and he has found me...

  10. Kristen: YES. THAT.

    Oh, stupid Marius. Totally picking the wrong girl.

  11. OH, Sound of Music! While backpacking Europe in college with my sister, I forced her to go on the Sound of Music tour in Austria. I don't regret a second. Among other things, we have pictures of the fountain they dance around and the Von Trapp House. (I wonder if this qualifies for your next Geek-Off?)

    I just saw a community theatre production of The Music Man, so I've had this verse in my head all week:

    There were bells on the hill
    But I never heard them ringing
    No I never heard them at all
    'Til there was you

  12. UM...the #1 reason I want to got to Austria is to GO ON THAT TOUR! Which should come as a surprise to exactly no one.

    This is definitely a Geek-Off contenda.

    And I adore that song from 'The Music Man.' So pretty.