Cabaret (Cabaret song)

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"Cabaret" is the title song of the 1966 musical of the same name, sung by the character Sally Bowles. It was composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb.


Background[edit]

In the musical, the song is performed by the character Sally Bowles in a night club setting in Weimar Germany in 1931. Her lover has told her that he is taking her back to America so that they can raise their baby together in safety. Sally protests as she thinks their life in Berlin is wonderful and she states politics have nothing to do with them or their affairs. After a heated row, Sally goes on stage singing “Cabaret” (“life is a cabaret, old chum”), thus confirming her decision to live in carefree ignorance of the impending problems in Germany.

The version of the song used in the musical includes a verse beginning:

"I used to have a girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared
Four sordid rooms in Chelsea..."

The verse goes on to describe her friend's prostitution, alcoholism and early death. Usually this is omitted in other commercial recordings of the song.

Synopsis[edit]

A review by Robert Feldberg on NorthJersey.com explains Michelle Williams' interpretation of the song in the 2014 Broadway revival in relation to the musical's plot:[1]

Urging us to "come to the cabaret," it’s not with joy or defiance, but (as Natasha Richardson also performed it in 1998) with increasing fear and sorrow. Unable to summon the strength to alter the course of her life, she breaks down.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic wrote that the 1972 film "contains some definitive [Liza] Minnelli performances, particularly her rendition of the title song".[2]

Reviews of the 2014 Broadway revival included: The Guardian described the song as "the hardest scene in the show, so shopworn as to have long ago collapsed into kitsch".[3] Broadway World wrote Michelle Williams' "version of the title song has a wrenching, dead-eyed quality that hauntingly undercuts its light lyrics."[4] It has been described as "stirring",[5] "devastating",[6] and "jaunty".[1]

Notable recordings[edit]

Chart history[edit]

Marilyn Maye
Chart (1966) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[18] 9
Mike Douglas
Chart (1966) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100[19] 129
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[20] 25
Ray Conniff
Chart (1967) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100[19] 118
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[21] 13
Herb Alpert
Chart (1968) Peak
position
Canada RPM Top Singles[22] 82
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[23] 72
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[24] 13
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[25] 96

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b FELDBERG, ROBERT. "Theater review: 'Cabaret'".
  2. ^ "Cabaret [Original Soundtrack Recording] - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic".
  3. ^ Brockes, Emma (24 April 2014). "Cabaret review – Alan Cumming is saucy and menacing in a sly revival" – via The Guardian.
  4. ^ Roundups, Review. "Review Roundup: CABARET Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!".
  5. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (25 April 2014). "Broadway Review: 'Cabaret' Starring Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming".
  6. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (25 April 2014). "Cumming makes 'Cabaret' revival hottest Broadway show again".
  7. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "Syracuse University Libraries". library.syr.edu. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  11. ^ "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  12. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  15. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "Single page on Spotify". Spotify.com. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 285.
  19. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004
  20. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 285.
  21. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 285.
  22. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  23. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  24. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 285.
  25. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 4, 1968

External links[edit]