March 2022 at Musical Cyberspace is all about songs with people’s names in the title.
“Adelaide’s Lament” is a fantastic character piece. Crafted by Frank Loesser for the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls, the song helps to define precisely who the character is, an insecure, neurotic showgirl with pretensions to intellectualism, and it does so in a way that makes us simultaneously laugh and feel sympathetic for her. Vivian Blaine put an indelible stamp on the song as its original performer and, many recordings of the show later, it’s only Faith Prince that offers any real competition for a definitive reading of the song.
There is, of course, a range of takes on the song on studio albums, from concerts and on social media challenges, including performances by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Jessie Mueller and Megan Mullally. Check some of those out in the playlist below.
Keen to share your thoughts on “Adelaide’s Lament”? Is there a particular version to which you’re married? Head on to the comment box at the end of this post.
Ms Blaine’s Adelaide is inspired. She has the comic greatness of Keaton or Laurel and can belt out a song with the best of them like Garland or Merman. Most of her creation was captured on film in the movie version – most, not all. The film adaptation of Guys and Dolls leaves anyone familiar with the musical show a bit shortchanged. Thankfully Ms Blaine, the magical Stubby Kaye, and his counterpoint, Johnny Silver, and the outrageously funny B.S. Pulley were retained for the film version.