If I Were a Bell

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"If I Were a Bell" is a song composed by Frank Loesser for his 1950 musical Guys and Dolls.

Guys and Dolls[edit]

In the show Guys and Dolls, it is sung by the character Sister Sarah, originally performed by Isabel Bigley on Broadway, and memorialized on the original cast album.[1] On a bet, Sky Masterson takes Sarah Brown to Havana to have dinner and gets her very drunk. Sarah's stiff social barriers fall away and she realizes she is in love with Sky, and he with her. She sings this after they have an eventful dinner but Sky refuses to take advantage of her drunkenness. It was also recorded by Lizbeth Webb who created the part in the original London production in 1953 at the London Coliseum.[citation needed]

Miles Davis[edit]

It has become a jazz standard since it was featured by trumpeter Miles Davis, on the 1956 Prestige album Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet. The Miles Davis Quintet featured tenor saxophone player John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The song became a Miles Davis specialty and it appears on several live session recordings and compilations in different versions. The tune was taken up and performed by countless jazz musicians and is still a favorite in jam sessions. So closely is the tune associated with Miles Davis that it is often miscredited as one of his own original compositions.

The Cosby Show[edit]

The Miles Davis version was also famously used in the final scene of the final episode of The Cosby Show when Cliff has rigged the doorbell outside to play the opening notes of the song. Then he and Claire dance off the set to it, breaking the fourth wall.


A different song with the same title was recorded in 1990 by R&B singer Teena Marie.


  1. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "My Shining Hour overview". Allmusic.