Till There Was You

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"Till There Was You"
Single by Anita Bryant
B-side "Little George (Got the Hiccoughs)"
Released May 1959
Genre Pop
Length 2:10
Label Carlton Records 512
Writer(s) Meredith Willson
Anita Bryant singles chronology
"Till There Was You"
"Six Boys and Seven Girls"

"Till There Was You" is a song written by Meredith Willson for his 1957 musical play The Music Man, and which also appeared in the 1962 movie version. The song is sung by librarian Marian Paroo (Barbara Cook on Broadway, Shirley Jones in the film) to Professor Harold Hill (portrayed by Robert Preston) toward the end of Act Two. It became a hit for Anita Bryant in 1959 and was later covered by The Beatles in 1963.


The first recording of this song to be released came even before the original cast album version of January 1958. Promotional copies of the 45 rpm single, Capitol P3847, were released on November 26, 1957, even before the Broadway production had premiered on December 19. Produced by Nelson Riddle, it featured his orchestra and 17-year-old vocalist Sue Raney. An earlier version of this song, "Till I Met You", was first recorded by Eileen Wilson in 1950 and later appeared on the January 14, 1951 edition of The Big Show, performed by Fran Warren.

The Beatles version[edit]

"Till There Was You"
Song by the Beatles from the album With the Beatles
Released November 22, 1963 (mono)
November 30, 1963 (stereo)
Recorded Abbey Road Studios:
July 18 and 30, 1963
Genre Pop
Length 2:16
Label Parlophone
Writer Meredith Willson
Producer George Martin
Music sample

Included on their albums With the Beatles (UK release, 1963) and Meet the Beatles! (US release, 1964), the song was the only Broadway tune that English rock group the Beatles ever recorded.

Paul McCartney was introduced to Peggy Lee's cover of the song by his older cousin, Bett Robbins, who would occasionally baby-sit the two McCartney brothers.[1] McCartney said: "I had no idea until much later that it was from The Music Man."[2] "Till There Was You" was part of the Beatles' repertoire in 1962 and performed at the Star Club in Hamburg.[3] It became illustrative of the Beatles' versatility, proving they could appeal to all sections of an audience, moving easily from softer ballads to harder rock and roll, as in their appearance on November 4, 1963 at the Royal Variety Performance when they followed this song with "Twist and Shout".[4]

The band had previously performed "Till There Was You" as part of their failed audition for Decca Records in London on January 1, 1962,[3] and it was the second of five the group sang during their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.[4][5]

Live versions of the song were released on Live at the BBC (1994) and Anthology 1 (1995). The latter version was recorded when the Beatles played at the Royal Variety Performance; because the album was cut so that live numbers began with the actual song, John Lennon's famous request that those in the royal box "rattle your jewelry" to "Twist and Shout" is in fact included on the "Till There Was You" track. When introducing this song (likewise placed on "She Loves You" for Anthology), McCartney commented that the song "had also been recorded by our favourite American group, Sophie Tucker".[4][6] This tongue-in-cheek comment by McCartney unwittingly began an urban legend that "Till There Was You" was an old Sophie Tucker song,[citation needed] when in fact, there is no record of her ever performing the tune.[citation needed]

A live performance of "Till There was You" by Paul McCartney appears on his DVD The Space Within US.


Other versions[edit]

  • In 1958, jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins recorded the song on his groundbreaking album Freedom Suite. An alternate take is provided on the 1999 CD rerelease.
  • In March 1961, "Till There Was You" was a minor hit in the UK for Peggy Lee.
  • Etta Jones recorded a version for her 1961 album, Something Nice.
  • Al Hirt released a version on his 1962 album, Horn A-Plenty.[7]
  • In 1962, an instrumental version of Meredith Willson's song by Valjean was also popular.[8]
  • In 1963, Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his RCA Victor Red Seal album Broadway... I Love You.[9]


  1. ^ Ray Coleman Yesterday & Today p.25
  2. ^ Ray Coleman Yesterday & Today p.26
  3. ^ a b Bill Harry The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia p.651
  4. ^ a b c "The Fab Four". The Beatles. November 4, 1963. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Ian MacDonald Revolution in the Head p.80
  6. ^ Anthology 1, Disc 2, track 2
  7. ^ Al Hirt, Horn A-Plenty Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  8. ^ 45cat - Valjean - Till There Was You / The Eighteenth Variation - London - UK - HLL 9593
  9. ^ Sergio Franchi - Broadway...I Love You (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs