Till There Was You

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"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, reaching number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and spending two weeks at number 14 on Cash Box. "Till There Was You" was later covered by the English rock band the Beatles in 1963.


The first recording of this song to be released was produced by Nelson Riddle and featured his orchestra and 17-year-old vocalist Sue Raney. 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, 1957 and a month ahead of the original cast album. An earlier version of this song, "'Til 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.

Anita Bryant version[edit]

"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
"Til There Was You"
"Six Boys and Seven Girls"

In 1959, American singer Anita Bryant recorded the song "Till There Was You" and released it as a single. Her version reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 14 on the Cashbox Top 100.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1959) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [1] 30
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 [2] 14

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(s) Meredith Willson
Producer(s) George Martin
Music sample

"Till There Was You" was included on the Beatles albums With the Beatles (UK release, 1963) and Meet the Beatles! (US release, 1964), the song was the only Broadway tune that the English rock group 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.[3] McCartney said: "I had no idea until much later that it was from The Music Man."[4] "'Til There Was You" was part of the Beatles' repertoire in 1962 and performed at the Star Club in Hamburg.[5] 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".[6]

The band had previously performed "'Till There Was You" as part of their failed audition for Decca Records in London on January 1, 1962,[5] and it was the second of five the group sang during their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.[6][7]

Live versions of the song were released on Live at the BBC (1994) and Anthology 1 (1995). A live performance of "'Till There was You" by Paul McCartney appears on his DVD The Space Within US.

In 2016, the BBC announced that a "holy grail" Beatles record would be auctioned in March of that year. A private pressing; it features two songs, "Hello Little Girl" and "Til There Was You" and was valued at over £10,000.[8] The disc eventually sold for well over its estimated value - £77,500.[9]


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, "'Til 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.[10]
  • In 1962, the young Nana Mouskouri recorded a slow, romantic, velvety version as originally the closing track on her acclaimed Great American Songbook album Nana Mouskouri in New York (The Girl from Greece Sings), produced by Quincy Jones.
  • In 1962, an instrumental version of Meredith Willson's song by Valjean was also popular.[11]
  • In 1963, Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his RCA Victor Red Seal album Broadway... I Love You.[12]
  • In 2003, Rod Stewart recorded his version on his 2003 album As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook: Volume II
  • The Smithereens recorded the song on their 2007 album Meet the Smithereens!, which consists entirely of cover versions of songs from the Meet the Beatles! album.
  • Violinist Vov Dylan and Pianist Glenn Amer recorded this for their album "Timeless" (2014)[13]


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Ray Coleman (1998). McCartney: Yesterday . . . and Today. Boxtree Ltd. p. 25. ISBN 978-0788159350. 
  4. ^ Ray Coleman (1998). McCartney: Yesterday . . . and Today. Boxtree Ltd. p. 26. ISBN 978-0788159350. 
  5. ^ a b Bill Harry (2000). The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia. Mjf Books. p. 651. ISBN 978-1567314038. 
  6. ^ a b "The Fab Four". The Beatles. November 4, 1963. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Ian MacDonald (2008). Revolution in the Head (Second ed.). Vintage. p. 80. ISBN 978-0099526797. 
  8. ^ "'Holy Grail' Beatles record to be auctioned". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  9. ^ "'Holy Grail' Beatles record sold for £77,500 at auction". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  10. ^ Scott Yanow. "Horn A-Plenty - Al Hirt | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Valjean - Till There Was You / The Eighteenth Variation - London - UK - HLL 9593". 45cat.com. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  12. ^ "Sergio Franchi - Broadway...I Love You (Vinyl, LP)". Discogs.com. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  13. ^ "Timeless by Vov Dylan on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-01-27.