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  • Loewe: My Fair Lady: Original London cast [SOUNDTRACK]
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Loewe: My Fair Lady: Original London cast [SOUNDTRACK] Soundtrack

Price: £19.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Jun. 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Columbia Broadway Masterworks
  • ASIN: B00002545Z
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Track Listing Overture Why Can't The English? Wouldn't It Be Loverly With A Little Bit Of Luck I'm An Ordinary Man Just You Wait The Rain In Spain I Could Have Danced All Night Ascot Gavotte On The Street Where You Live You Did It Show Me Get Me To The Church On Time A Hymn To Him Without You I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face The Embassy Waltz*


My Fair Lady is without question one of the greatest shows ever created for the musical theatre. It's a charming, hilarious and touching adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, pitting flower girl Eliza Doolittle against Professor Henry Higgins, the self-absorbed and ill-tempered linguist who bets that he can turn her into a lady by improving her diction. Lerner and Loewe's score includes some of the best-loved songs in the canon such as: "The Rain in Spain", "On the Street Where You Live" and "Get Me to the Church on Time" among others.

The 1959 London-cast stereo recording is generally held in lower regard than its Broadway counterpart, which was recorded three years earlier in mono. But why quibble? The principals are all the same--Rex Harrison as Higgins, Julie Andrews as Eliza, Stanley Holloway as her dad, and Robert Coote as Colonel Pickering (Leonard Weir replaced Michael King as Freddy Einsford-Hill). --David Horiuchi, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
My Fair Lady is one of those few musicals that have had two cast albums with the same principals. It is in an enviable position and in the same company as Phantom of the Opera. In that case Crawford, Brightman and Barton reprised their roles in the original Broadway cast but the producers did not do a cast album with the American company. I know that fans of this fabled Lerner & Loewe musical have always debated on the merits of the two Fair Lady cast albums. However, after listening to both of them side by side, I can safely say that this first London version is just as good as the white Broadway album of three years earlier. I know that people are endeared to the freshness of the white Fair Lady album, but I find that Dame Julie, Harrison and Holloway sound comparatively more seasoned in their portrayals of their characters and offer freer, more expressive performances here. Dame Julie is, as always, excellent. I know that Harrison's speak-singing Broadway performance has comparatively more charm, but he still handles the Lerner & Loewe songs very well in this London recording. Holloway relishes his two Alfred Doolittle songs and plays the part to the rafters in his home turf. This London album benefits from a strong supporting cast. I'm rather fond of Leonard Weir's portrayal of Freddy. Yes I know that John Michael King's voice may have more body, but Weir has comparatively more ardour in his solos and scenes with Eliza. Overall, I know that this is still a wonderful Fair Lady cast album and purchasers can't go wrong when choosing this over the Broadway version. There's no need to grow accustomed to the white album. This stereo Fair Lady is just as good.
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By Andrew on 20 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having had the mono version (vinyl) in my collection since I started collecting records, it was a pleasant surprise to hear the stereo version.
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By Fernando on 23 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
good but not a patch on the original broadway cast mono recording
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By Janet Handcock on 13 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
THE BEST, A MUST for any musical lover's collection 2 Nov. 2001
By Pope - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have all 3 major My Fair Lady recordings; the 1956 Broadway Cast, the 1964 movie soundtrack, and this one. This is the best one BY FAR. Julie Andrews' voice has matured somewhat from the previous version, which is certainly for the better. Rex Harrison talks-sings about the same here as on B-way and is very believeable at the part. Between this album and the 1956 OBC, most of the cast is the same, but there are a few differences, noteably the man who plays Freddie Eynsford-Hill. Leonard Weir, a Briton, is much better than his Broadway counterpart, John Michael King (who is American, and certainly sounds like it too). Stanley Holloway is good in either case, but by the time the movie soundtrack rolls around, he sounds tired with the part (listen to the beginning of "Little Bit of Luck" on that album and you'll know what I mean).
This album is a true pioneer in stereo recordings and that's one of the reasons Columbia Records producer Goddard Lieberson decided to do a remake of the cast album when the cast moved to London. After all, Columbia Records was a corporate sponsor of the show and had nothing to loose with a success like this. This stereo album sounds wonderful and the bonus track, "The Embassy Waltz," (which is in monoural) is magic. This is the My Fair Lady to get.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By Dewey Mee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"FAIR LADY" is my favorite show, and there's been a lot of carping about whether the Broadway or London Cast album (with identical principle stars) is best. The London stereo album (from 1959) is my favorite. Yes, Rex Harrison growls and bellows his way through Higgins' songs, (a serious drawback) but Stanley Holloway has a bawdy good time with Doolittle's "A Little Bit Of Luck" and "Get Me To The Church On Time." Leonard Weir is "serviceable" as Freddy Hill at best, but "The Street Where You Live" is the show's most forgettable song (a tiny flaw in this gem of a musical)! Most, and best, of all, there is the nearly perfect, transcedent performance of Julie Andrews, who is more "authentically Cockney" here than she is on the 1956 Broadway album; wistful for "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" and full of fire and rage for "Just You Wait! " and "Show Me." And there has NEVER been a better performance of "I Could Have Danced All Night" than Andrews sings it here. With all due respect to my adored Audrey Hepburn, the role of Eliza belongs to Julie Andrews. The 1964 movie soundtrack, with Marni Nixon (an Andrews/Hepburn wannabe who has the qualties of neither Fair Lady, and with a Cockney accent straight out of California, to make matters worse) is horrendous! Warner Brothers' should have allowed darling Audrey Hepburn to sing for herself, as she did so expressively in the 1957 film "FUNNY FACE", and told Marni Nixon to stay home! Oh..well... In London, in Stereo, with Julie Andrews, "FAIR LADY" is, indeed, "Loverly!"
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
the "Fair Lady" in London... 23 Sept. 2006
By Byron Kolln - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In 1956, Lerner and Loewe's MY FAIR LADY swept into Broadway and quickly captured the hearts of critics and audiences alike, the perfect transformation of George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion" into the world of the musical theatre. Both Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews played the show for two years on Broadway before yielding to replacements (Edward Mulhare and Sally Ann Howes), and in 1959 traveled across the pond to headline the London company. The show opened at the Drury Lane Theatre in April 1959, and ran for 2,281 performances.

While both Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison had laid down their definitive performances as Eliza Doolittle and Prof. Henry Higgins for the 1956 original Broadway cast album of MY FAIR LADY, the subsequent 1959 London production allowed them to record another album, in the brand-new stereophonic format.

Despite this 1959 recording having a sweeter sound than the earlier 1956 mono album, this sadly remains the lesser of the two, because a lot of the energy and flash had disappeared from Julie Andrews' voice in the years she had performed the role. On the Broadway album, Andrews gives a rich performance that runs the gamut from cockney guttersnipe to regal high society, but comparing the two albums directly, she does not sound at her optimal best on the London set. Andrews has acknowledged that she found the role of Eliza both physically and vocally exhausting, even more so because of the lack of body-mikes, and the projection must have been gruelling at times. No wonder that so much of the bloom in Andrews' voice had vanished by the time she reprised her role in London. Despite Andrews, the album does have a few merits including breezy orchestrations under the direction of Cyril Ornadel (the Overture is given a much faster tempo than is heard on the Broadway set).

The supporting cast includes Stanley Holloway (also reprising his Broadway role) as Eliza's dustman father Alfie. The role of Freddy is played by Leonard Weir (his "On the Street Where You Live" is very charming), and Robert Coote also repeats his Broadway role as Colonel Pickering.

The 1959 London cast of MY FAIR LADY, just like the 1956 Broadway album, has never been out of the catalogue, though the confusion between the two albums still exists, despite the fact that the London album sports a gold-brown cover and the Broadway album is white. Sony Broadway Masterworks' edition features a bonus track of the "Embassy Waltz", a mono recording from 1956.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I've grown accustomed to the original Broadway version 12 Jun. 1999
By John W. Cotner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I got the 1959 London cast version of MFL, I anticipated better sound, as it was in stereo, and perhaps better vocals and orchestral arrangements, as the cast and orchestra had had three years to polish up the score. Boy, was I wrong! The 1959 sound was not noticeably better, even if it was in stereo, but the vocals, particularly Rex Harrison's, and particularly "Why Can't the English?" and "I'm an Ordinary Man," were disappointing and inferior to the originals. Rexy had much more of a singing lilt to his songs on Broadway, while in the London album it sounds as if he is almost reading the lyrics, and without a lot of feeling. Also, if you listen closely to "You Did It" I think he goofs up and transposes two lines or omits one all together, and Robert Coote -- who is good in London -- says it and Rexy simply hisses"Yes" to get back in the song. Also, Leonard Weir, the London Freddie, barely makes his final notes in "On the Street Where You Live", and sounds afraid of the song, while John Michael King, on Broadway, delivers a stirring Irish tenor version to inspire shower singers forever. The London orchestral arrangements were also a disappointment, being less elegant and somewhat faster than the Broadway orchestra's versions. Typical of London versions of "Broadway" shows (i.e., Les Miz), they "Music Halled" things up, and gave the whole production the breezy informal air of a Gilbert and Sullivan, or skiffle tune, show, with much more pronounced Cockney accents. Coote and Stanley Holloway were the only ones who seemed at home in London, 1959. Julie Andrews was okay but lacked pizzazz, and "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" lacks something in London. If you are a MFL collector, then buy this album so you can say you have it. But if you only have money enough for one, then get the original Broadway cast album; you definitely will not regret it. Do not be scared off by the fact that it is in mono -- it sounds just as good as stereo, and just as magical, with each playing, as it did 43 years ago. That is the biggest difference between the two versions; the Broadway one is magical, while the London one, after everyone involved spent three years doing the show, is "by the numbers" and plodding. I first heard the Broadway MFL when I was a little boy; my sons now listen to it and I know their children's children will do so as well. I strongly recommend that you and yours do so, too.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Broadway vs London vs Movie 1 Oct. 2003
By Elizabeth L. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Let's begin by comparing both the Broadway and London scores to the 1964 movie soundtrack-- actually there is no comparison! Both Broadway and London surpass the movie recording by far, only demonstrating the HUGE mistake Hollywood made by not casting Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle. Andrews' purely delightful soprano voice and perfect diction cannot even be compared to Marni Nixon's voice dubbing in the film. In addition, Andrews is British, which is critical to this play, unlike Nixon's purely American accent heard in the film.
As far as Broadway vs London MFL recordings, I would have to agree with the others who are in favor of the "white" Broadway album. While both are very good, the Broadway album does appear to be less "forced" than the London album due, most likely, to the fact that it was recorded before the cast had exhausted themselves singing the score after a few years on the stage. Both Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews appear to be more "natural" in the Broadway album, and Andrews does definitely lose a bit of the innocence in her voice in this recording.
All in all, I would recommend that any MFL collector invest in both the Broadway and London cast recordings to make your own opinions. Yet, for someone looking to buy only one album, I would stick with the Broadway version. In all situations, save yourself some money and skip buying the film soundtrack.
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