Till There Was You
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"Till There Was You" is a song written by Meredith Willson for his musical play The Music Man (1957), and which also appeared in the 1962 movie version. It is sung by librarian Marian Paroo (performed by Barbara Cook on Broadway, and by Shirley Jones in the film) to "Professor" Harold Hill (portrayed on Broadway and in the film by Robert Preston) toward the end of Act Two.
The song became a hit for Anita Bryant in 1959, reaching number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and spending two weeks at number 14 on Cash Box. "Till There Was You" was covered by the Beatles in 1963.
The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Nelson Riddle, featuring 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.
Anita Bryant versionEdit
|"Till There Was You"|
|Single by Anita Bryant|
|B-side||"Little George (Got the Hiccoughs)"|
|Label||Carlton Records 512|
|Anita Bryant singles chronology|
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 US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 14 on the Cashbox Top 100.
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 ||30|
|U.S. Cash Box Top 100 ||14|
The Beatles versionEdit
|"Till There Was You"|
Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album With the Beatles|
|Released||November 22, 1963 (mono)|
November 30, 1963 (stereo)
|Recorded||July 18 and 30, 1963|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"'Til There Was You"
"Till There Was You" was covered by the Beatles in 1963 and released their second album With the Beatles (1963) (United Kingdom) and Meet the Beatles! (1964) (United States). It was the only Broadway song released by the band.
The Beatles' version is sung by Paul McCartney, who is accompanied by George Harrison and John Lennon on dueling acoustic, classical guitars played in a Spanish style over a bossa nova bongo beat played by Ringo Starr. The song was produced by George Martin. Its guitar solo is by George Harrison.
Paul McCartney was introduced to Peggy Lee's cover of the song through his older cousin Bett Robbins, who would occasionally babysit the two McCartney brothers. McCartney said that he "had no idea until much later" that it was from The Music Man. The song was part of their pre-recording repertoire in 1962, and they performed it at the Star Club in Hamburg. It became illustrative of the Beatles' versatility, proving that 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".
The band had included "'Till There Was You" as part of their unsuccessful audition for Decca Records in London on January 1, 1962. It was the second of five songs that they performed during their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.
Live versions of the song were released on Live at the BBC (1994) and Anthology 1 (1995). A live performance by McCartney appears on his DVD The Space Within US (2006). In 2016, the BBC announced that a "holy grail" Beatles record would be auctioned in March of that year, a private pressing which features "Hello Little Girl" and "Till There Was You" and was valued at over £10,000. It was said to be one of the "rarest and most collectable of all Beatles records" by Mark Lewisohn, one of the foremost authorities on the Beatles. The disc eventually sold for £77,500.
- Jazz vocalist Sue Raney recorded the tune with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra on 29 October 1957 for her first album, "When Your Lover Has Gone." This recording pre-dated the opening of The Music Man by about 6 weeks.
- Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins recorded the song on his groundbreaking album Freedom Suite (1958). An alternate take is provided on the 1999 CD rerelease.
- Guitar instrumentalist Chet Atkins recorded the single for his album Teensville (1960).
- In March 1961, "'Til There Was You" was a minor hit in the UK for Peggy Lee.
- Etta Jones recorded a version for her album Something Nice (1961).
- Al Hirt released a version on his album, Horn A-Plenty (1962).
- 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) (1962), produced by Quincy Jones.
- In 1962, an instrumental version of Meredith Willson's song by Valjean was also popular.
- In 1963, Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his RCA Victor Red Seal album Broadway... I Love You.
- In 1974, Ray Charles recorded this song on his Crossover Records album Come Live With Me
- In 1984, Brazilian singer Beto Guedes released a version in Portuguese called "Quando te vi" (When I saw you), written by Ronaldo Bastos.
- In 1998, Ellen Albertini Dow sang this in the movie The Wedding Singer; though this rendition does not appear on the official soundtrack.
- In 2000 Peter MacNicol, Lisa Nicole Carson, and Jane Krakowski performed a version of the song on TV show Ally McBeal's season 3 episode "Turning Thirty"
- 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.
- In 2009, Katherine Jenkins recorded this song on her 2009 Believe (Katherine Jenkins album).
- "Hot 100 - Billboard", Billboard, August 17, 1959, retrieved September 25, 2018
- "The CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cashbox. August 22, 1959. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- Ray Coleman (1998). McCartney: Yesterday . . . and Today. Boxtree Ltd. p. 25. ISBN 978-0788159350.
- Ray Coleman (1998). McCartney: Yesterday . . . and Today. Boxtree Ltd. p. 26. ISBN 978-0788159350.
- Bill Harry (2000). The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia. Mjf Books. p. 651. ISBN 978-1567314038.
- "The Fab Four". The Beatles. November 4, 1963. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- Ian MacDonald (2008). Revolution in the Head (Second ed.). Vintage. p. 80. ISBN 978-0099526797.
- "'Holy Grail' Beatles record to be auctioned". BBC News. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "'Holy Grail' Beatles record sold for £77,500 at auction". BBC News. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- UK Official Singles Chart, UK Official Charts Company, March 29, 1961, retrieved March 14, 2019
- "Etta Jones - Something Nice". Allmusic. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Scott Yanow. "Horn A-Plenty - Al Hirt | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "Nana Mouskouri - Nana Mouskouri in New York". Allmusic. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- "Valjean - Till There Was You / The Eighteenth Variation - London - UK - HLL 9593". 45cat.com. February 10, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "Sergio Franchi - Broadway...I Love You (Vinyl, LP)". Discogs.com. June 2, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2016.