This Sunday's playlist is top-heavy with songs from The Pajama Game, an Adler and Ross smasheroonie from 1954...all about labor squabbles in a PJ factory. What? A plot like that could "kill your brother!" But, man, did it work! So put on your Sleep-Tite onesie, and settle in for a dose of Adler and Ross...
Richard Adler, son of a concert pianist, and Jerry Ross (born Jerold Rosenberg) of the Bronx, met in 1950 and started out composing songs together...like "Rags to Riches" which became a Tony Bennett smash hit. Then it was on to "John Murray Anderson's Almanac," a Broadway revue, that brought them to the attention of Frank Loesser (no musical slouch he!) who helped them gain footing in the industry. Bang, they get a shot at The Pajama Game with George Abbott (no musical slouch he, either!) writing the book. Best Musical of 1954! A year later (almost to the day), they presented their next work, Damn Yankees...another Tony winner. Consecutive Best Musical awards? Within a year of each other? Pretty astounding...But unfortunately, Jerry up and died within six months of Damn Yankees' opening, and there went the partnership, up in smoke.
They wrote musicals in an exceptional way. Both Richard and Jerry were composers AND lyricists. When one got stuck on a measure or a phrase, the other would jump in. This kind of sharing was almost unheard of. Would YOU trust another composer to work on your hit melody? Did Richard trust Oscar? Hmmmm?
Overture to The Pajama Game (Instrumental, The Pajama Game)
Something to Dance About (Ethel Merman, Call Me Madam)
I Could Have Danced All Night (Julie Andrews, My Fair Lady)
The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing (Danny Kaye, White Christmas)
Dance with Me (The New York Voices, Louisiana Purchase)
Gimme Gimme (Sutton Foster, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
The Speed Test (Marc Kudish, Sutton Foster, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Put 'Em in a Box, Tie 'Em with a Ribbon, and Throw 'Em in the Deep Blue Sea
(Doris Day, Romance on the High Seas)
Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me (Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas)
I'm Not At All in Love (Janis Paige, The Pajama Game)
I'm Not At All in Love (Doris Day, The Pajama Game)
Hey There (John Raitt, The Pajama Game)
Her Is (Stanley Prager, Carol Haney, The Pajama Game)
(IF TIME, Hernando's Hideaway!)