My Favorite Things (song)

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"My Favorite Things"
Song
Published 1959
Composer Richard Rodgers
Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II
Language English
Recorded by Mary Martin & Patricia Neway (1959),
John Coltrane (1961-1967),
Julie Andrews (1965),
The Supremes (1965),
Herb Alpert (1968),
Carrie Underwood (2013),
Kelly Clarkson (2013)
and various others

"My Favorite Things" is a popular show tune, originally from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.

The song was first sung as a duet between Maria (played by Mary Martin) and Mother Abbess (Patricia Neway) in the original 1959 Broadway production and by Julie Andrews in The Garry Moore Show's 1961 Christmas special and the 1965 film.

Background[edit]

In the musical, the lyrics to the song are a reference to things Maria loves, such as "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens". These are the things she selects to fill her mind with when times are bad.

The original Broadway musical places this song in the Mother Abbess's office, just before she sends Maria to serve Captain von Trapp's family as governess to his seven children. However, Ernest Lehman, the screenwriter for the film adaptation, repositioned this song so that Maria would sing it with the children during the thunderstorm scene in her bedroom, replacing "The Lonely Goatherd", which had originally been sung at this point. Many stage productions also make this change, shifting "The Lonely Goatherd" to another scene.

The first section of the melody has the distinctive property of using only the notes 1, 2, and 5 (Do, Re, and So) of the scale. Rodgers then harmonized this same section of the melody differently in different stanzas, using a series of minor triads one time and major triads the next.

The happy, optimistic lyrics – "Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel" – are just a counterpoint and cover up an undercurrent of fear. As noted above, the song was written to be sung by a young woman scared of facing new responsibilities outside the convent. In the film script the song is repositioned, with Maria singing it to the von Trapp children during the thunderstorm; but the terror contained in the melody is still the dominant emotion.

The song ends with a borrowed line of lyric and notes from Rodgers' earlier composition with Lorenz Hart, "Glad to Be Unhappy", a standard about finding peace in the midst of unrequited love. Using the same two notes for the phrasing of "so sad" in the original song, Rodgers brings the gloom of my "Favorite Things" to a similar upbeat ending – "and then I don't feel so bad."

In 2004 the movie version of "My Favorite Things" finished at #64 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

In popular culture[edit]

John Coltrane[edit]

Jazz artist John Coltrane did an extended, close to fourteen-minute version in E minor on his 1961 album taken from the title of the song. It became a jazz classic and a signature for Coltrane in concert, also appearing on Newport '63 in 1963, Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up and New Thing at Newport in 1965, Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Offering: Live at Temple University in 1966, and The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording in 1967. Coltrane's version differs significantly from the song as originally conceived, using modal patterns and being much darker and more frenzied in feel.

A Christmas song[edit]

The wintertime imagery of the lyrics has made "My Favorite Things" a popular selection during the Christmas Holiday season, as the song mentions warm-woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, sleigh bells, snowflakes, silver white winters etc. It has appeared on many Christmas albums, including:

  • 1964: Jack Jones on his album The Jack Jones Christmas Album
  • 1970: Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding on their album Christmas with Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding
  • 2010: Borgore on his album Borgore Ruined Dubstep, Pt. 1

Other cover versions[edit]

We Five covered the song on their 1965 album You Were on My Mind.

Al Jarreau recorded the song featuring Katheleen Battle in his album released in 2006 titled Tenderness.

Lauryn Hill recorded a remix of the song in 2012, titled "Black Rage."

Big Brovaz The single was released in 2003 and a track on their 2002 debut album, Nu-Flow.

Petula Clark recorded the song for a Pye Records Various Artists EP of songs from The Sound of Music in 1961. She subsequently recorded the song again in 1981 for the cast album of the show's London revival which she was then starring in.

In 2013 Diana Vickers did a cover of the song which features in an advert for One Direction's fragrance Our Moment.

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes did a cover version released on their 1999 album Are a Drag.

Outkast recorded the song for their 2003 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

There is an interpretation of the song in the Japanese anime Kids on the Slope.

A humorous and slightly risqué version in Portuguese by Manuel João Vieira appeared in the TV mini-series Um Mundo Catita.

Central Japan Railway Company has used the song covered by Suguru Matsutani in its TV commercial Sōda Kyōto ikō "Let's go to Kyoto" since 1993.

The bridge of "Build God, Then We'll Talk" by Panic! at the Disco satirizes "My Favorite Things".

Soul Jazz pioneer Grant Green covered the song on his 1979 album Matador.

The Lennon Sisters recorded a version that was subsequently used in the opening credits sequence of the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Lady Gaga performed the song along with a medley of others from the musical as part of a tribute to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the film at the 87th Academy Awards.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 287. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 

External links[edit]