2008 Grammy Hall of Fame: divas and musicals galore


A couple of days ago, I finished
the project that’s kept me working around the clock for weeks — and
I celebrated by getting some sleep, and by checking the theater news
I’ve been neglecting since the end of the stagehands strike. I
was thrilled to discover that some of my Broadway and movie musical
favorites were just inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

On the diva front, we have Barbra Streisand‘s “The Way We Were.”

Movie theme songs don’t get
much better than this, and divas don’t get much better than Barbra.
You know you want to watch her belt the song back in the day, so here
you go:

Invoking a different flavor
of Broadway diva, Ethel Merman‘s version of Cole Porter‘s
“You’re the Top” (from Anything Goes) was also inducted.

Although Ethel Merman will
always be Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls to me, there’s
no denying that she was one of the all-time Broadway greats. Periodically
I lament at how over-miked shows are these days and wish I had the opportunity
to see Ethel Merman belting to the back of the house. And one of these
days, I need to track down her disco album.

Moving from the divas to the
soundtracks and cast recordings, I am in absolute heaven!

Cabaret is one of the three best movie musicals
in history. (The others are The Sound of

1776.) I’ve found the movie and its soundtrack more enjoyable than
any stage version I’ve seen or cast recording that I’ve heard, and I
heartily agree that it warrants Hall of Fame status.

Here’s one of the most memorable
musical scenes from the movie:

Next is one of the most important
cast albums from my childhood, Oliver!

My brother and I listened to
the LP of this constantly on our little red record player and danced
around my bedroom to “Consider Yourself.” (I still listen for the
spot where the record skipped when I listen to my Oliver! CD.)
And Georgia
‘s “As
Long as He Needs Me” is one of the most moving testaments to codependence
you’ll ever hear. I applaud this addition to the Hall of Fame.

Finally, there’s Company.

This is another album I heard
throughout my childhood, as my mother was a big fan of the show. The
songs are more a series of vignettes rather than elements of a consistent narrative,
but many are utterly compelling. Between Beth Howland‘s amazing
lung capacity in “Getting Married Today” and Dean Jones’ plaintive
“Being Alive,” the album is a masterpiece. And if you’ve never seen
the documentary about the filming of the cast album,
rush out and see it at your first opportunity. Watching Elaine Stritch‘s 10 zillion takes of “The Ladies
Who Lunch” will change you.

I hope these inductions make
some of you as happy as they made me. You can find a full list of the
inductees here.

More you may like