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There's No Business Like Show Business" is an Irving Berlin song, written for the musical and orchestrated by Annie Get Your Gun 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 —which starred Singin' in the Rain 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 song became one of Ethel Merman's standards and was often performed by her at concerts and on television. The Ethel Merman Disco Album
Other singers to have recorded the song include
Judy Garland, the Andrews Sisters (with Bing Crosby and Dick Haymes), Harry Connick Jr. (from , 1999), Come by Me Susannah McCorkle, and Bernadette Peters.
In his liner notes for
Susannah McCorkle's version of the song on her album Ballad Essentials 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".
Sonny Rollins did a rendition of the tune on his 1956 Prestige album, . Work Time
The Ethel Merman recording is featured in the film
(1979). All That Jazz From 1976 to 2007 the rock band
Genesis played the Ethel Merman recording at the end of gigs—it can be heard at the end of their 1977 live album . Seconds Out During the credits of
, Noises Niki Haris sings a form of the song. In the
2000 musical film version of , Love's Labour's Lost Nathan Lane sings a version of the song. In
Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman's character Lynette Scavo sang a line from this song after telling her sister's boyfriend that she would sing Ethel Merman "at the top of her lungs" in an attempt to make him consider taking her sister back. Liza Minnelli performed a portion of the song on her 1992 album "Live From Radio City Music Hall."
, contestants Latrice Royale and RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race Tammie Brown performed a lip-sync to the Ethel Merman version for the episode "RuPaul's Gaff-In." [1 ]
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