This timeless jazz standard is from the 1940 Broadway musical Pal Joey, starring Gene Kelly (a big break for him), June Havoc (who was immortalized as "Baby June" in Gypsy) and Van Johnson. "Bewitched" was written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart, better known as Rodgers and Hart. The song was introduced by Broadway star/comedienne Vivienne Segal.
Kelly played the title character, Joey Evans, who's a womanizing smalltime nightclub performer. Joey is opportunistic, manipulative and selfish, but he's also a charmer. The character was the first antihero featured in a Broadway musical. The shifty playboy has an affair with wealthy, married socialite Vera Simpson (Segal), hoping she'll set him up with his own club. She falls head over heels in love with Joey and expresses the powerful effect he has on her in "Bewitched."
This role propelled Kelly to Hollywood stardom.
Created by the American author John O'Hara, Pal Joey is based on a character and situations taken from a series of short stories published in The New Yorker, which O'Hara later published in novel form. The musical debuted on Broadway on Christmas night in 1940 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and ran for 374 performances. It was directed and produced by George Abbott.
Rodgers and Hart were an acclaimed and popular songwriting team. The duo penned many classic songs together and had a series of successful musicals, many of which were made into films. When Hart died, Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein such shows as South Pacific, The King and I, and Sound of Music.
was loosely adapted into a film of the same name in 1957 and starred Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. Hayworth played Vera Simpson and sang "Bewitched." However, it wasn't actually the screen legend's voice on the tune. Her voice was dubbed by singer Jo Ann Greer. In addition to "Bewitched," the soundtrack also included several other Rodgers and Hart compositions, including "My Funny Valentine
," "There's a Small Hotel," and "The Lady is a Tramp
The film was directed by George Sidney, who also helmed Show Boat
, Kiss Me Kate
, Anchors Aweigh
, Annie Get Your Gun
and Bye Bye Birdie
This song was featured in Woody Allen's acclaimed 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, where it was sung by screen veterans Lloyd Nolan and Maureen 'O Sullivan. "Bewitched" was also featured in the soundtracks for The History Boys and Mona Lisa Smile.
Rod Stewart and Cher recorded a duet of "Bewitched" in 2003. It was included on Stewart's album As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook, Vol. ll. Other notable artists who have performed the song include Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion, Sinéad O'Connor, Frank Sinatra, Ronnie Milsap, Lena Horne, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Carly Simon, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Barbra Streisand.
Vivienne Segal also sang "Bewitched" on both the 1950 hit record and the 1952 Broadway revival of Pal Joey.
An episode of the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was named "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." It was the sixteenth episode of season two and originally aired on February 10, 1998.
In 1941, radio broadcasters initiated a 10-month boycott against ASCAP when the copyright company attempted to double its licensing fees. Because no songs licensed by ASCAP were allowed on the air in the US, "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" made its radio debut overseas, where it was a hit under the title "Perdu dans un Reve Immense d'Amour." The song didn't gain widespread acclaim in the US until Segal recorded it again in 1950, long after the broadcasting ban was lifted.