Baubles, Bangles, & Beads 1953

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Baubles, Bangles & Beads” is a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D. The “Kismet” setting maintains the original’s 3/4 waltz rhythm; pop music settings change the rhythm to a moderate four-beat accompaniment. Jazz musicians are especially drawn to the song’s beguiling melody and advanced harmonic structure. The familiar AA’BA+Coda structure of the song is energized by a key change up a major third interval for every section; the transition is marked by a bracing harmonic progression from the central major key of one section to the tritone minor key of the following section. Jazz players and singers have enjoyed the musical challenges of this song for decades.

The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1954. Other versions were recorded that year by Lu Ann Simms, Georgia Gibbs, and Frank Sinatra. The Kirby Stone Four re-make hit the Billboard Top 100 in 1958 and remains a favorite on adult standard stations. (Eumir) Deodato recorded an instrumental in a hit LP of 1973.

But the most curious version is that one that mixed the scherzo of Borodin’s string quartet No. 2 with this piece of music, arranged by the Argentine Ernesto Acher under the name “Borodin, Bangles & Beads” in 1987 on his album Juegos

Recorded versions

Liza Minnelli – Minnelli on Minnelli : Live at the Palace (1999-2000)
Victoria Abril
Julie Andrews
Chet Atkins – Travelin’ (1963)
Nick Brignola
June Christy – The Cool School (1960)
Eumir Deodato
Ernesto Acher – “Borodin, Bangles & Beads”; Juegos (1987)
Martin Denny
Marlene Dietrich
Eliane Elias – Dreamer
Bill Evans
Percy Faith – Gettin’ With It
Laura Fygi
Georgia Gibbs
Benny Goodman
Stephane Grappelli
Joni James
Jonah Jones
Stan Kenton – The Stage Door Swings (1958)
Steve Kuhn Trio
Peggy Lee – Miss Wonderfull (1959)
Johnny Mathis
Dave McKenna and Hal Overton – Dual Piano Jazz Bethlehem LP BCP 6049
Wes Montgomery Fingerpickin 1958
Jane Morgan
Gerry Mulligan
Oscar Peterson
George Shearing
Zoot Sims
Nina Simone
Frank Sinatra – Come Dance with Me! (1959) Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967)
Kay Starr
The Kirby Stone Four (Grammy-nominated performance)
Mel Torme
Sarah Vaughan
Dionne Warwick
Cassandra Wilson – Song Book (1995)
Dean Elliott
Dinah Washington
Rachel Gould and Chet Baker – “All Blues” Bingow Records Paris LP BGW 03 (1979); the song was misnamed “Bangles, Bangles And Beads” on cover and label