Baubles, Bangles, & Beads

"Baubles, Bangles & Beads" is a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest.


Like almost all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin,[1] in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D. The "Kismet" setting maintains the original's 3/4 waltz rhythm; pop music settings change the rhythm to a moderate four-beat accompaniment. Jazz musicians are especially drawn to the song's beguiling melody and advanced harmonic structure. The familiar AA'BA+Coda structure of the song is energized by a key change up a major third interval for every section; the transition is marked by a bracing harmonic progression from the central major key of one section to the tritone minor key of the following section. Jazz players and singers have enjoyed the musical challenges of this song for decades.

1953 recordingsEdit

The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee on September 16, 1953[2] and charted briefly that year.[3] Other versions were recorded that year by Lu Ann Simms and Georgia Gibbs.

Other recordingsEdit

The song has appeared on numerous albums over the years including:


  1. ^ McHugh, Dominic “I’ll Never Know Exactly Who Did What”: Broadway Composers as Musical Collaborators. Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 68, Number 3, pp. 605–652 ISSN 0003-0139, electronic ISSN 1547-3848.
  2. ^ "". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 270. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "The Kirby Stone Four Baubles, Bangles And Beads Chart History". Archived from the original on May 31, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "Borodin, Bangles & Beads" (Borodin's Scherzo from the Quartet n° 2/Baubles, Bangles & Beads) is also on the album Mischief with Mozart - Comical Combat with the Classics (Stradivari Classics).