Sunday, 26 July 2009

Take back your mink, take back your pearls

Forty years ago the musical genius that was Frank Loesser died (far too early at only 59), and the world of musicals lost one of its most prolific writers.

In his glittering career, Loesser wrote more than 700 songs, giving the world such enduring standards as On a Slow Boat to China, Two Sleepy People, Heart and Soul, I Don't Want to Walk Without You, Wonderful Copenhagen, Moon of Manakoora, Spring Will Be a Little Late this Year, They're Either Too Young or Too Old, Standing On The Corner, and the Oscar-winning Baby, It's Cold Outside. Some of his songs, with their open-to-interpretation lyrics even became camp gay anthems - including Kiss The Boys Goodbye and (See What) The Boys in the Backroom (Will Have).

After a prolongued spell in Hollywood, writing for over sixty films including Destry Rides Again, Neptune's Daughter, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Fred Astaire's Let's Dance, he returned to Broadway and produced his masterwork - one of the most popular musicals of all time - Guys and Dolls.

With its cavalcade of classics such as A Bushel and a Peck, Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat, Take Back Your Mink and the wonderful Adelaide's Lament, this musical has had numerous revivals (and was famously adapted for the big screen with Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine), including the 2005 West End production, which we went to see, starring Ewan McGregor.

So to celebrate this man's genius, here are just some of Frank Loesser's greatest musical moments:

Frank Loesser (29th June 1910 – 28th July 1969)

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