When music fans think of love songs their minds usually wonder to the genres of Pop, R&B, Country, Jazz and sometimes Hip-Hop. Rarely do they look to musicals to pinpoint the best of the best when it comes to love songs. Little do they know musicals hold an array of gems when it comes to the expression of love. Here are the best love songs from musicals.
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is more than a title that is a mouthful, it is a classic love song lifted from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. The song – which was written by the late Tom Eyen – became a staple of the Broadway musical and later the signature song for the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls starring singers Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and Eddie Murphy to name a few. The song speaks about not wanting to let go of a love that is slowly dying, doing everything in one’s power to hold on to it because you are strongly devoted to the feeling. “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” went on to earn Jennifer Holiday – the singer who originally played Effie White – a Tony Award in 1981 while Jennifer Hudson earned an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Effie White in 2007.
“Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease
“Hopelessly Devoted to You” is a poignant love song from the musical Grease. While the musical (that later became a movie) tackled issues like teenage pregnancy, sexual exploration and the trials and tribulations experienced by teens trying to discover themselves, fans could not help but to fall helplessly in love with the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” The song originally did not appear in the musical version of Grease; it was added to the movie adaptation of the musical and was written by John Farrar and arranged by Greg Gilpin. The song which was sung by Olivia Newton-John, speaks about being broken hearted over a love and despite the mind telling the person to let go, they can’t because they are hopelessly in love and devoted to the person that has their heart.
“Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors
“Suddenly Seymour” is from the rock musical Little Shop of Horrors – which was based off of the 1960’s dark comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors. The song appears in the film and the musical as a duet between the characters Seymour and Audrey. “Suddenly Seymour” was written by Howard Ashman and arranged by Alan Menken. The song speaks about finally finding love after kissing a few frogs.
“The Winner Takes it All” from Mamma Mia
The song “The Winner Takes it All” was originally recorded by Swedish group ABBA and was released in the summer of 1980. The song later appeared in the musical Mamma Mia which used other songs composed by ABBA. “The Winner Takes it All” is a ballad that acknowledges the conclusion of a romance using the metaphor of playing a game where at the end, the winner takes all.
“Maria” from West Side Story
The ever so popular song “Maria” originally made its debut in the Broadway musical West Side Story. The musical was later transformed into a movie. The song was written by Stephen Sondheim and arranged by Leonard Bernstein. “Maria” has been revered as an American classic and has made brief appearances in various movies including the Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal film Analyze That. “Maria” was sung by the lead character, Tony, who sang the name after falling in love with a girl and learned that her name was “Maria.”
“Seasons of Love” from Rent
“Seasons of Love” is a song from the Broadway musical Rent. Written and composed by Jonathan Larson, “Seasons of Love” is an interpretive song that asks the question, how does one measure a year? The musical piece opens up with the memorable and catchy lyrics, “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.” Using examples of how to measure a year such as through cups of coffee, daylights and sunsets, the singers come to the conclusion that love is the only way to measure a year in a human life.
“As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver
The musical film Oliver is a cult classic, but the music in the film is far more memorable. “As Long as He Needs Me” is a love song sung by one of the characters, Nancy, and was written by Lionel Bart. Nancy is portrayed as being in love with her criminal boyfriend Bill Sikes. The piece speaks about the undying love a person has for another despite the pain and mistreatment one experiences with their love.
The listed songs that were derived from musicals prove that the average music lover can depend on different avenues besides the aforementioned genres to seek out the most memorable love songs. Much like love, a great love ballad can be found in the most unpredictable places.