FROM THE ARCHIVE 276 -1965-

The Lady Is A Tramp
Music written by Richard Rogers, words by Lorenz Hart.

Released 1965 on the album Shirley Stops The Shows. In the same year a live recording has been released on Shirley Bassey At The Pigalle.

As Shirley Bassey has performed this song on many live concerts until today, it is also on some live recordings: Live at Talk of the Town from 1970, and on the 1997 The Birthday Concert, and on some videos.

Composer Richard Rodgers (born 1902 NY) began with the age of 16 to work together with lyricist Lorenz Hart (born 1895 NY). They worked together until 1943 and produced many successful musicals and also Hollywood films, but they’re usually remembered for their songs, not their shows. Many of Rodgers & Hart’s stage hits were made into movie musicals as well. Lorenz Hart became alcohol problems 1942, and died 1943. Richard Rodgers found an even more capable replacement in an old friend, Oscar Hammerstein II. They wrote together famous musicals like “Oklahoma!” (1943), “South Pacific” (1949), “The Sound of Music”, “Carousel” (1945), “The King and I” (1951). From these musicals Shirley Bassey has performed for example “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Something Wonderful”.

After Oscar Hammerstein II died 1960, Rodgers worked alone as composer and lyricist, but also teamed with Alan Jay Lerner, Burton Lane and Stephen Sondheim. For all his compositions he has been honoured with an entry into the Entertainment Hall of Fame. He died 1979.

This song is from the Rodgers/Hart musical “Babes in Arms”. This musical spawned two more hit songs “Where Or When” and “My Funny Valentine”, which have also been recorded by Shirley Bassey. The Broadway premiere of the musical was on April 14, 1937, and it ran for eight months with 289 performances. It is about the children of vaudevillians who put on a show, and the story has been loosely adapted into a movie with the same title 1939.

1940 another musical with Rodgers & Hart songs started, which also included this song and “My Funny Valentine” again: “Pal Joey”. A sophisticated, downbeat tale about a gigolo. It may have been a bit too dark for audiences in 1940, when it had a moderate run on Broadway with 374 performances. In 1951 a new studio recording has been released, and the success of this album led to a Broadway revival of “Pal Joey” in 1952. A movie starring Kim Novak and Frank Sinatra has been made out of the musical 1957.

Noël Coward, mentioned in the lyrics, was the first Brit inducted into the American Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He was not only a songwriter, but also a playwright, director and actor as well as a filmmaker and novelist. Shirley Bassey sings of his songs for example “If Love Were All” (from “Bitter Sweet”).

On live concerts, traditionally Shirley Bassey changes the party that she missed in the lines according to an actual event. There are a few variations below in green. When she sings that she was never at Barbra Streisand’s party, she means the musical “Funny Girl” with which Barbra Streisand was successful in London’s West End 1966 (previously also on Broadway).

Alma Cogan was “The Girl With The Laugh In Her Voice” was an important singer of the 1950s and the early 60s. She’s been a friend of Lionel Bart and has also recorded his show “Oliver!” like Shirley Bassey, but she’s mainly known for funny songs like for example “Please Mr Brown”. 1964 she had a party in her flat and the guests included Noel Coward, George Martin, and the Beatles. John Lennon nicknamed her Sarah Sequin, she reminded him of his mother and he fell totally in love with her. “Every time I’m with Alma, it feels right. Julia (Lennon’s late mother) just couldn’t cope with me, but Alma can read me like a book.”

With Hugh Grants party, she means when he was caught and arrested by the L.A. police in June 1995, because he had solicited the prostitute Divine Brown to illicit acts in his car directly on the Hollywood Boulevard. It was 1995’s scandal of the year, but boosted his career. His friend Liz Hurley was not amused. She claimed that she would never – “No, never, no, no” – marry Hugh.

Special thanks to John D for providing some of this information.

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Studio version

A wonderful Live version from 1972

Lyrics

I’ve wined and dined on mulligan stew
on “Live at Talk of the Town” inserted: I have, I have
And never wished for turkey
I’ve hitched and hiked and drifted to
From Maine to Alberquque
Alas I missed the beaux arts ball
And what is twice as sad
I was never at a party
Where they honoured Noel Coward
on “Live at Talk of the Town”: I was never at Barbra Streisand’s party – aaah
And that make me bloody mad a …(??) funny girl
on “At The Pigalle”: Alas I’m always known as being in the pie(??)
I was never at Alma Cogan’s party A shame
When she honoured Ringo Starr
on “The Birthday Concert” & video “An Audience With Shirley Bassey”: I was never at Hugh Grants party
When he honoured the great divine – ouh
His social circles move to fast for me
My hobohemia is the place to be
I get too hungry for dinner at eight
I love the theatre but never come late
I never bother with people I hate
That’s why this lady is a tramp

I don’t like crap games with barons and earls
Won’t go to Harlem in ermine and pearls
Won’t dish the dirt with the rest of those girls
That’s why this lady is a tramp

I like the free fresh wind in my hair
Life without care
I’m broke… that’s oke
Hate California, it’s cold and it’s damp
That’s why this lady is a tramp

I like the free fresh wind in my hair
on “Live at Talk of the Town”: I like the free fresh wind in my wig

Life without care
I’m broke… that’s oke
Hate California, it’s cold and it’s damp
That’s why this lady is a tramp

And I love it
Yes, I’m a tramp, and I love it
And I wish that you will come in my way yeah
I wish that you will come in my way yeah
I wish that you will come in my way
Yes, I’m a lady
But a tramp

(Transcribed by Roman)

1965 W

 

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