My Favorite Things (song)
|"My Favorite Things"|
|Lyricist(s)||Oscar Hammerstein II|
In the musical, the lyrics to the song are a reference to things Maria loves, such as "whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens". These are the things she selects to fill her mind with when times are bad.
The original Broadway musical places this song in the Mother Abbess's office, just before she sends Maria to serve Captain von Trapp's family as governess to his seven children. However, Ernest Lehman, the screenwriter for the film adaptation, re-positioned this song so that Maria would sing it with the children during the thunderstorm scene in her bedroom, replacing "The Lonely Goatherd", which had originally been sung at this point. Many stage productions also make this change, shifting "The Lonely Goatherd" to another scene.
The first section of the melody has the distinctive property of using only the notes 1, 2, and 5 (tonic, supertonic, and dominant) of the scale. By using the same melody-pattern, Rodgers harmonized it differently in different stanzas, using a series of minor triads one time and major triads the next.
The song ends with a borrowed line of lyric and notes from Rodgers' earlier composition with Lorenz Hart, "Glad to Be Unhappy", a standard about finding peace in the midst of unrequited love. Using the same two notes for the phrasing of "so sad" in the original song, Rodgers brings the gloom of my "Favorite Things" to a similar upbeat ending – "and then I don't feel so bad."
In 2004 the movie version of "My Favorite Things" finished at No. 64 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.
John Coltrane version
Jazz artist John Coltrane did an extended, close to fourteen-minute version in E minor on his 1961 album taken from the title of the song. It became a jazz classic and a signature for Coltrane in concert, also appearing on Newport '63 in 1963, Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up and New Thing at Newport in 1965, Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Offering: Live at Temple University in 1966, and The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording in 1967.
Other notable versions
The lyrics in "My Favorite Things" are composed of holiday and Wintertime imagery. Examples in the lyrics are: "bright copper kettle" (making warm beverages), "warm woolen mittens", "brown paper packages tied-up with strings", "sleigh bells", "snowflakes", "silver white winters melting" – which has made the song popular for the Christmas / Holiday season. The song has been recorded by numerous artists, including:
- 1964: Jack Jones on his album The Jack Jones Christmas Album
- 1965: Eddie Fisher on his album Mary Christmas
- 1965: Diana Ross and The Supremes on their album Merry Christmas
- 1965: Andy Williams on his album Merry Christmas (He also sang it in a duet with his wife, Claudine Longet on The Andy Williams Show)
- 1966: Kenny Burrell on his album Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas
- 1967: Barbra Streisand on her album A Christmas Album
- 1968: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on their album Christmas Album (reached #45 on the Billboard 100 the following year)
- 1968: Tony Bennett on his album Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album
- 1969: Johnny Mathis on his album Give Me Your Love for Christmas
- 1969: Peter Nero on the album Christmas with Colonel Sanders
- 1970: Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding on their album Christmas with Rick Wilkins and the Mutual Understanding
- 1981: Kenny Rogers on his album Christmas
- 1984: The Carpenters performed an instrumental version on their album An Old-Fashioned Christmas
- 1993: Lorrie Morgan on her album Merry Christmas from London (Christmas airplay in 1994 and again in 1999, bringing it to #64 and #69, respectively, on the Hot Country Songs chart)
- 1994: The Whispers on their album Christmas Moments Sampler
- 1995: Luther Vandross on his album This Is Christmas
- 1995: Russ Freeman on his album Holiday
- 1997: SWV on their album A Special Christmas
- 2000: Vanessa Williams, Plácido Domingo, and Tony Bennett on their Live concert Christmas special, Our Favorite Things: Christmas in Vienna
- 2002: Barry Manilow on his album A Christmas Gift of Love
- 2002: Anita Baker on her album Christmas Fantasy
- 2004: Dionne Warwick on her album My Favorite Time of Year
- 2005: The Brian Setzer Orchestra on their album Dig That Crazy Christmas
- 2005: Kenny G on his album The Greatest Holiday Classics
- 2005: Rod Stewart on the album Sounds of the Season: The NBC Holiday Collection
- 2007: Yolanda Adams on her album What a Wonderful Time
- 2007: Connie Talbot on her album Over the Rainbow
- 2008: Tony Bennett on his album A Swingin' Christmas (Featuring The Count Basie Big Band)
- 2009: Family Force 5 on their album Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant
- 2011: Deana Martin on her album White Christmas
- 2011: Carole King on her album A Holiday Carole
- 2011: Chicago on their album Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three
- 2011: The cast of Glee on Extraordinary Merry Christmas
- 2012: Avila used on Victoria's Secret Holiday Campaign
- 2013: Kelly Clarkson on her album Wrapped in Red
- 2013: Jim Brickman on his album The Magic of Christmas
- 2013: Mary J. Blige on her album A Mary Christmas
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 287. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Notes, lyrics, mp3s, different versions compared
- "My Favorite Things at 50," public radio documentary on the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's rendition of "My Favorite Things."