There's No Business Like Show Business

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"There's No Business Like Show Business" is an Irving Berlin song, written for the musical Annie Get Your Gun and orchestrated by Ted Royal. The song, a slightly tongue-in-cheek salute to the glamour and excitement of a life in show business, is sung in the musical by members of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in an attempt to persuade Annie Oakley to join the production. It is reprised three times in the musical.

The song is also featured in the 1954 movie of the same name, where it is notably sung by Ethel Merman as the main musical number. The movie, directed by Walter Lang, is essentially a catalog of various Berlin's pieces, in the same way that Singin' in the Rain—which starred Donald O'Connor as well—was a collection of Arthur Freed songs. There was also a disco version of the song made during the 1970s, with Merman reprising her singing role (see The Ethel Merman Disco Album). The song became one of Ethel Merman's standards and was often performed by her at concerts and on television.

Other singers to have recorded the song include Judy Garland, the Andrews Sisters (with Bing Crosby and Dick Haymes), Harry Connick Jr. (from Come by Me, 1999), Susannah McCorkle, and Bernadette Peters.

In his liner notes for Susannah McCorkle's version of the song on her Ballad Essentials album Scott Yanow writes "usually performed as a corny razzle-dazzle romp, that piece was drastically slowed down by Susannah who performed all of its known lyrics, including stanzas that show Irving Berlin's lyrics were actually quite touching and meaningful".

Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins did a rendition of the tune on his 1956 Prestige album, Work Time.

Popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  • America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley, Philip Furia, Michael L. Lasser. Routledge, 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-97246-8, p. 206
  1. ^ Sava, Olivia (30 October 2012). "RuPaul's Gaff-In". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2 March 2013.