There were giants in those days. Two of the tallest giants of musical theatre were Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. I first saw Anthony Newley on TV, when I was a child. It was love at first heart beat. He was a joy, and he was sad; he was an entertainer and a man of sorrow. He had this most extraordinary voice. Rich and deep and his whole being in it. Impossible to describe. These songs from "Willy Wonka" and his and Bricusse's last musical are a treasure trove. They are Newley at his finest.
"Pure Imagination" has never been lovelier. "Cheer Up, Charlie" breaks me in half. "I've Got a Golden Ticket" is a joy, here I go over the moon! And the songs "Little Golden Clown" and "Beautiful Land" (that one from "Roar of the Greasepaint..") just play over and again in my head. Stars and beautiful things and happy dreams. Delicious and delightful.
And to have the songs from the musical "It's A Sad Old Bad Old World" (the working title of the play at least)are heart's delight. We can make up our own plot from them. "It's A Musical World" just brightens the sky to blinding blue. "The Fool Who Dared to Dream" gives that forlorn and so very brave and hopeful hope. The final song, ending in the lyrics.."Daddy, can you bring me some--war" score a life. A mime, a jester, a man of the most marvelous physical interpretations, a star of movies and stage, a master singer/writer/composer. And it's here in these splendid works. An opening song, where a middle aged rock and roller still wants to write his songs for Sandy, fearing the world has passed him by. It has definitely not.
I saw Anthony Newley in "Stop the World..." at the Orpheum in Memphis. To be there, to see him in person, magic. In his white face, this Littlechap who loved too unwisely, who always hurt himself and blamed himself, but who always had a cheery note for all of us who bought his records, saw his films, danced in his music for all of our lives. A little golden clown with a sweet sly bold intense wry sometimes sardonic incredibly handsome face, and a laugh that could not make you help but feel happier. And a voice that got even better as he got older. Richer and purer toned.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Anthony Newley appearing at long last on CD. Watch out for the tear in his eye, for the way he spun himself into sugar and sometimes gall, the way he made himself a living breathing Everyman, for you will remember him forever. He is gone now, Mr. Anthony Newley, but for those of us lucky enough to have been his fans, he gave us a Once In a Lifetime that lasts forever. All of us fools who also fell in love too unwisely salute him.
Buy his work. Everlasting gobstoppers have never tasted so good.