Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
|"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'"|
|Song from Oklahoma!|
|Writer||Oscar Hammerstein II|
"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" is the opening song from the musical Oklahoma!, which premiered on Broadway in 1943. It was written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The leading male character in Oklahoma!, Curly McLain, sings the song at the beginning of the first scene of the musical. The refrain runs: "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'! / Oh, what a beautiful day! / I've got a beautiful feelin' / Ev'rythin's goin' my way." Curly's "brimming optimism is perfectly captured by Rodgers' ebullient music and Hammerstein's buoyant pastoral lyrics."
This was the first song of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical collaboration to be heard by theatre audiences. It has become one of their most famous numbers and "quickly became one of the most popular American songs to emerge from the wartime era, gaining currency away from Broadway first on the radio and recordings, and then later on numerous television variety shows." Brooks Atkinson, reviewing the original production in The New York Times, wrote that the number changed the history of musical theatre: "After a verse like that, sung to a buoyant melody, the banalities of the old musical stage became intolerable."
- Frank Sinatra recorded the song as a single in 1943, released by Columbia Records as catalogue number 36682. The song appears on more than two dozen Frank Sinatra compilations. Sinatra first recorded the song a cappella: "a musician's strike ... occurred just as Sinatra was set to enter the studio and lay down his first tracks under the Columbia banner, so ... Sinatra went into the studio with a group of vocalists and recorded several songs ... acappella".
- Ray Charles recorded the song several times, and one of his live recordings from the 1970s with the Count Basie Orchestra is included on his posthumous album Ray Sings, Basie Swings (2006)
- Violinist Daniel Kobialka recorded a version of the song on his album titled Oh What a Beautiful Morning (1991).
- Eels covered the song on their live album Oh What a Beautiful Morning (2000).
- James Taylor recorded the song in 2008 and released it as a bonus track on his album Covers (2008) and also on his album Other Covers (2009).
Other artists who covered the song include Rosemary Clooney on several of her albums, Lisa Mitchell on her album Wonder, Avila, Jan and Dean, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, Nelson Eddy, John Arpin and Joanie Bartels. Classical singers who have recorded it include Placido Domingo, Bryn Terfel, Marilyn Horne and Samuel Ramey, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir made a choral version.
In popular culture
The importance to the song in musical theatre history is underlined by the many references to it in the literature. Ethan Mordden titled his book about the dawn of the "Golden Age" of musicals Beautiful Mornin: The Broadway Musical in the 1940s.
- Cummings, Robert. "Richard Rodgers: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', song (for the musical Oklahoma!)", Allmusic.com, May 10, 2014
- Gordon, John Steele. Oklahoma'!', accessed June 13, 2010
- "Frank Sinatra: 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic.com, May 10, 2014
- "The Columbia Years 1943–1952: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1", Sinatra!: The Complete Guide, May 10, 2014
- "Ray Charles: 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Daniel Kobialka: 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Eels: 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Discography", JamesTaylor.com, accessed May 10, 2014
- "James Taylor: 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Rosemary Clooney: Songs", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Rosemary Clooney: 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning'", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- Donovan, Patrick. "Idol hands on top gong", The Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2010, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Oh What a Beautiful Morning", Bandcamp.com, 2013, accessed May 10, 2014
- Unterberger, Richie. "Dean Torrence: Anthology: Legendary Masked Surfer Unmasked", Allmusic, accessed May 16, 2014
- "MP3 search: 'Oh What a Beautiful Morining'", Amazon.com, accessed May 10, 2014
- "Chicken Soup for Little Souls: What a Wonderful World", Allmusic, accessed May 10, 2014
- Mordden, Ethan. Beautiful Mornin: The Broadway Musical in the 1940s, Oxford University Press U.S., 1999, ISBN 0-19-512851-6
- "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'": Gordon MacRae sings the song in the original film version (1955)
- "Great Performances" version: Hugh Jackman sings the song in the PBS production of Oklahoma! (2003)
- Video: Linda Eder and Mary Chapin Carpenter sing the song together while riding horses.