Do You Know This Song Is from Guys and Dolls?
By Allison Borzoni
Alexandra Zorn (left) as Sarah Brown and Brian Vaughn as Sky Masterson
It has happened to all of us. You are listening to a fun song on the radio as you are driving, singing along as you take a left turn. A friend in the passenger seat says, “Did you know this is from Guys and Dolls?” And you say, “No it’s not.” Your friend counters, “Yes it is.” “No, it’s not.” “Yes, it is.” “No, it’s not.” The argument continues until you suddenly realize—your friend is right. The song is from Guys and Dolls.
To save you from losing the argument, we’ve gathered some popular songs you maybe didn’t realize were from Guys and Dolls—five songs from the musical that have flourished outside of the theatre.
“A Bushel and a Peck” is first song we hear from Miss Adelaide. She sings it in the nightclub alongside her fellow showgirls in Act 1. The first few lines are very familiar: “I love you a bushel and a peck/ A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck/ A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap/ A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep.” Recognize it now?
The song “Guys and Dolls” feels like a no-brainer. It shows up in the musical when the characters Nicely and Benny see how Nathan Detroit chases after Adelaide. This song about the lengths men go for their dolls ends with the lines “When the lazy slob gets a good steady job/ And he smells from Vitalis and Barbasol/ Call it dumb, call it clever, ah but you can get odds forever,/ That the guy’s only doing it for some doll, some doll, some doll,/ That the guy’s only doing it for some doll.” With the rhyming and clever jokes, it’s an excellent song to memorize and sing with friends on a fun night out.
Sarah sings “If I were a Bell” in pure classic musical fashion: When she can’t contain the emotion anymore. The title line comes from the first stanza “Ask me how do I feel,/ Now that we’re cosy and clinging,/ Well sir, all I can say is/ If I were a bell I’d be ringing!” Feel free to give the song another listen, it’s a lot of fun to sing outloud when you’re stuck in traffic.
“Luck Be a Lady Tonight,” is not only a song title, but also a good-luck charm over your dice in Monopoly. This song graces the stage in Act 2, and it’s sung by Sky Masterson as he makes a gamble on the souls of his gambling buddies. “You might give me the brush/ You might forget your manners/ You might refuse to stay/ And so the best that I can do is pray/ Luck be a lady tonight.” May luck be a lady with you too during your next game night.
The character Nicely takes the lead on the fifth song on our list: “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.” Nicely’s quick-thinking brought the world this catchy rendition of a religious dream. “People all said sit down/ Sit down you’re rockin’ the boat./ And the devil will drag you under/ By the sharp lapel of your checkered coat,/ Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down,/ Sit down you’re rocking the boat.”
So without rocking the boat, you can now point out the songs your friends didn’t realize came from Guys and Dolls. The play is filled to the brim with musical gems, and these are only a few of the songs you may already know. So give the soundtrack another listen.