Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered

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  • 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.
  • Pal Joey 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.
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Comments: 8

  • Alistair from Daventry, United KingdomCan we get the writers credited instead of showing 'traditional' - seems only fair.
  • Sarah` from London, EnglandIn the film The History Boys, the film is sung from one young man to another, and I'm sure I've read somewhere that it was originally meant to be sung in a male homosexual context? It's extremely moving sung this way anyway, although I'm also a fan of the Ella Fitzgerald version.
  • Krys from Langley, Canadai was given several choices of music to choose for a solo, but as soon as i tried this song out (bewitched), i knew i had to choose it
  • Pam from Long Beach, CaYou have got to hear Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of this timeless jazz standard. It's so crisp and clear. You can actually FEEL the song. When you hear her sing it, you understand that this is not just a song of an older woman's affair with a younger man. It's a song of fancy, folly and bittersweet rememberance. I've heard almost every rendition out there and Ella's is without a doubt my favorite.
  • Amy from Montreal, CanadaSecond Refrain goes:
    I've seen a lot, I mean a lot
    But now I'm like sweet seventeen a lot --
    Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
    I'll sing to him, each spring to him,
    and worship the trousers that cling to him --
    Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
    When he talks he is seeking
    words to get off his chest.
    Horizontally speaking, he's at his very best.
    I'm vexed again, perplexed again,
    Thank God I can be oversexed again --
    Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
  • Amy from Montreal, CanadaI've got some of those "racy" lyrics. It's meant to be sung by an older woman about a younger man. In the first refrain,:
    Lost my heart, but what of it?
    My mistake, I agree.
    he's a laugh, but I love it
    Because the laugh's on me.
    A pill he is, but still he is
    All mine and I'll keep him until he is
    Bewitched, bothered and bewildered
    Like me
  • Rachel from Oxford, Ohi especially love rod stewart and cher's duet of this on the second volume of his "great american songbook"

  • Janna from Los Angeles, CaI should have mentioned that "Bewitched" has had several versions, depending on what was acceptable to the general public. The song was originally considered worldly and second verses (which I don't at this time have access to--anyone else have them?) were Caberet/Broadway spiced with what was then considered New York sophicated. For example, one verse ended: "I'm vexed again, perplexed again, thank God I can be over-sexed again, Bewitched (etc)" When a movie--with all the grit taken out was made in squeeky-clean 1957 starring Frank Sinatra as Joey, Rita Hayworth (who didn't sing, so her movie songs were always dubbed) and Kim Novak (she probably didn't sing either, but I can't confirm that) they made cad Joey a nicer guy, more suitable for the audience. (I haven't seen the movie for years, so I don't know which lady performed it.) Really, it's the great jazz and torch singers who made the song a classic.

    Also, many show and movie songs were changed when they were released as music and singles. Show tune often don't make sense out of context. A good example it "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christms" which had quite sad lyrics in the movie "Meet Me in Saint Louis." The lyrics usually sung are much more upbeat.
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