My Favorite Things (song)

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"My Favorite Things"
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Published 1959
Language English
Recorded by Mary Martin & Patricia Neway (1959),
John Coltrane (1961),
Julie Andrews (1965),
The Supremes (1965),
Herb Alpert (1968),
Carrie Underwood (2013),
Kelly Clarkson (2013)
and various others

"My Favorite Things" is a popular show tune, originally from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. In recent times, due to the winter-related imagery in the lyrics, it has become popular as a Christmas song.

The Sound of Music version[edit]

The song was first introduced by Mary Martin and Patricia Neway in the original Broadway production and sung by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film.

In the musical, the lyrics to the song are a reference to things Maria loves, such as "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens". These are the things she selects to fill her mind with when times are bad.

The original Broadway musical places this song in the Mother Abbess's office, just before she sends Maria to serve Captain von Trapp's family as governess to his seven children. However, Ernest Lehman, the screenwriter for the film adaptation, repositioned this song so that Maria would sing it with the children during the thunderstorm scene in her bedroom, replacing "The Lonely Goatherd", which had originally been sung at this point. Many stage productions also make this change, shifting "The Lonely Goatherd" to another scene.

The first section of the melody has the distinctive property of using only the notes 1, 2, and 5 (Do, Re, and So) of the scale. Rodgers then harmonized this same section of the melody differently in different stanzas, using a series of minor triads one time and major triads the next. This song has 16 bars of D minor 7, followed by eight bars of E b minor 7 and another eight of D minor 7. Thus, it has an AABA structure.

The happy, optimistic lyrics---"Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel"---are just a counterpoint and cover up an undercurrent of fear. As noted above, the song was written to be sung by a young woman scared of facing new responsibilities outside the convent. In the film script the song is repositioned, with Maria singing it to the von Trapp children during the thunderstorm; but the terror contained in the melody is still the dominant emotion.

The song ends with a borrowed line of lyric and notes from Rodgers' earlier composition with Lorenz Hart, "Glad to Be Unhappy", a standard about finding peace in the midst of unrequited love. Using the same two notes for the phrasing of "so sad" in the original song, Rodgers brings the gloom of my "Favorite Things" to a similar upbeat ending-–-"and then I don't feel so bad."

In 2004 the movie version of "My Favorite Things" finished at #64 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

John Coltrane[edit]

Jazz artist John Coltrane did an extended, close to fourteen-minute version in E minor on his 1961 album taken from the title of the song. It became a jazz classic and a signature for Coltrane in concert, also appearing on Newport '63 in 1963, Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up in 1965 and Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Offering: Live at Temple University in 1966. Coltrane's version differs significantly from the song as originally conceived, using modal patterns and being much darker and more frenzied in feel.

A Christmas song[edit]

The wintertime imagery of the lyrics has made "My Favorite Things" a popular selection during the Christmas Holiday season. It has appeared on many Christmas albums, including:

  • 1964: Jack Jones on his album The Jack Jones Christmas Album
  • 1970: Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding on their album Christmas with Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding
  • 2010: Borgore on his album "Borgore Ruined Dubstep, Pt. 1"
  • 2011: Deana Martin recorded “White Christmas” on her 2011 album “White Christmas.”

Other cover versions[edit]

Petula Clark recorded the song for a Pye Records Various Artists EP of songs from The Sound of Music in 1961. She subsequently recorded the song again in 1981 for the cast album of the show's London revival which she was then starring in.

In 2013 Diana Vickers did a cover of the song which features in an advert for One Direction's fragrance Our Moment.

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes did a cover version released on their 1999 album Are a Drag.

Outkast recorded the song for their 2003 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

There is an interpretation of the song in the Japanese anime Kids on the Slope (11th episode).

A humorous and slightly risqué version in Portuguese by Manuel João Vieira appeared in the TV mini-series Um Mundo Catita.

Central Japan Railway Company has used the song covered by Suguru Matsutani in its TV commercial Sōda Kyōto ikō "Let's go to Kyoto" since 1993.

The bridge melody of Build God, Then We'll Talk by Panic! at the Disco is a derivative of the melody of the chorus of My Favorite Things. The lyrics in the bridge also directly satirize the lyrics of My Favorite Things.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 287. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 

External links[edit]