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Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find them informative!
Leslie Bricusse–Award-Winning Author, Composer, Lyricist and Librettist
I am so excited to share a wonderful artist with you today. Leslie Bricusse is a name that may not be as well known as Stephen Sondheim or Irving Berlin, but nevertheless he is one of the top composers, lyricists and playwrights of his generation and continues to work today. He is noted for having written the smash Broadway hits Stop The World–I Want To Get Off (which he said he wrote with Newley in 3 weeks!) and The Roar Of The Greasepaint–The Smell Of The Crowd, both with Anthony Newley, and more recently Jekyll & Hyde. In addition, it was he who wrote many memorable songs that you will remember from huge films: the title song “Goldfinger” with Anthony Newley and John Barry, “Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory with Anthony Newley, as well as songs from the film Victor/Victoria starring Julie Andrews.
Mr. Bricusse, who was born in London in 1931 and currently lives in California and the south of France, attended school in England. While in school, he wrote his first two shows, which, according to The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, went on to be presented in the West End. He has been most active from 1952 to the present. According to the Awards page from his official website, Leslie Bricusse has won an Academy Award for Best Music Score for Victor/Victoria, as well as a Best Song Oscar for “Talk To The Animals” from Doctor Doolittle. He won a Grammy Award for the Song of the Year for “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” from Stop The World–I Want To Get Off. According to his biography, his main collaborators thus far have included Anthony Newley, Frank Wildhorn, Henry Mancini, John Williams, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, Jule Styne, Quincy Jones, Andre Previn and Ian Fraser, although he has worked with many others through his very long and productive career.
Some of his memorable songs include:
- What Kind Of Fool Am I?
- Who Can I Turn To?
- My Kind of Girl
- Talk To The Animals
- Feeling Good
- When I Look In Your Eyes
- You Only Live Twice
- Le Jazz Hot
- On A Wonderful Day Like Today
- The Candy Man
- Two For The Road
- This Is The Moment
- Crazy World
- Pure Imagination
In addition to his website, you can find more information about Leslie Bricusse on Wikipedia, The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, IMDB, IBDB and Music Theatre International. There was an article written about Mr. Bricusse giving words to some of George Gershwin’s orchestra music from the British newspaper The Guardian. There is also an interview from 2011 with Leslie Bricusse that appeared in TheStage.co.uk. The Arts blog of The Orange County Register also includes an interview with Bricusse where he discusses a recent project he created about Sammy Davis, Jr., who was a friend of his and who recorded dozens of his songs. Another great interview that aired on Christmas Day last year on MusicalTalk podcast features an interview with Mr. Bricusse.
And now some video! Here is an interview which occurred at The Old Globe where Leslie Bricusse discusses his new Sammy Davis, Jr. show:
And Sammy Davis, Jr. appearing live on The Joey Bishop Show in 1968 with a Briccuse and Newley medley:
Michael Buble with “Feeling Good”:
Tony Bennett with “If I Ruled The World”:
And Julie Andrews with “Le Jazz Hot”:
What are your favorite songs and shows written by Leslie Bricusse? Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!
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Till next time,
Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time