Tunes on Tuesday: Never Will I Marry

Why this tune?

Frank Loesser wrote “Never Will I Marry” for the 1960 musical “Greenwillow.” I can see why the lyrics can sound odd today – Anthony Perkins sang it as a sad ballad about his desire to break his family curse, where (thanks Wikipedia) “the eldest in each generation of Briggs men must obey the ‘call to wander’, while the women they leave behind care for the home and rear their children in the hope that some day their husbands will return.”

I only knew this song from jazz recordings, starting with Nancy Wilson’s version with Cannonball Adderley. That version, with a woman singing Loesser’s words, changes the context of the song, turning it into a swinging declaration of independence from the constraints of marriage.

Dig this detail!

Shacara Rogers and Sam Prather took that theme even further in their 2018 version, adding new lyrics to make that empowerment message crystal clear.

I’m not sure what Frank Loesser might have thought, but I prefer these jazz takes to the Broadway original.

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Anthony Perkins from the original Broadway run of Greenwillow

Nancy Wilson with Cannonball

Sam Prather and Shacara Rogers

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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