Song of the Day #698: ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ – Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel and Lea Michele

[Note: Guest blogger Amy finishes off the week with Glee…]

As I mentioned in yesterday’s SOTD, I appreciate American Idol for the way it enables me to learn about and enjoy music with my children. This year, a new show has arrived on the scene that not only enables any viewer to enjoy music but uses it as a kind of transfusion for passion, humor, pain, courage. That show, of course, is Glee.

By successfully creating a television musical, Ryan Murphy has once again provided a musical history lesson for kids and their parents in the guise of a weekly “dramedy.” Within a single season (sometimes within a single show), the kids sing their emotional highs and lows to Rihanna, Journey, Madonna, Lily Allen, John Lennon, Cyndi Lauper, The Police, Lady GaGa…

The song I’m featuring today I chose because of the brilliant mash-up the YouTube creator, Rachelnina, put together that demonstrates the musical history lesson Murphy provides us weekly. And because it captures one of the most powerfully uplifting moments in this first season.

First, Murphy hires Lea Michele, she of Broadway’s Spring Awakening, to play Rachel, the funny girl who dreams of the spotlight. Then he hires Idina Menzel, she of Broadway’s Wicked, to play Shelby Corcoran, coach of the rival “Vocal Adrenaline” glee club. Finally, he makes the brilliant decision to have Rachel belt out ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade,’ when her glee club has been sabotaged during Sectionals.

The result – meta musical magnificence. Of course, the fact that Rachelnina (our YouTube mash-up artist extraordinaire) found footage of Idina Menzel performing ‘Rain on my Parade’ live to an audience including Barbra Streisand(!) just makes it all the more sensational.

If artists such as Shawn Colvin, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Blake Lewis and Kris Allen made the songs they covered their own, Glee‘s performers have done something even more extraordinary – they’ve made those songs our own. And they’ve reminded us of a Broadway and musical legacy that most kids today would otherwise neither know nor care about.

Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter
Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don’t tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it’s me and not you
Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade
I’ll march my band out, I’ll beat my drum
And if I’m fanned out, your turn at bat, sir
At least I didn’t fake it, hat, sir
I guess I didn’t make it
But whether I’m the rose of sheer perfection
A freckle on the nose of life’s complexion
The Cinderella or the shine apple of its eye
I gotta fly once, I gotta try once,
Only can die once, right, sir?
Ooh, life is juicy, juicy and you see,
I gotta have my bite, sir.
Get ready for me love, ’cause I’m a “comer”
I simply gotta march, my heart’s a drummer
Don’t bring around the cloud to rain on my parade,

I’m gonna live and live NOW!
Get what I want, I know how!
One roll for the whole shebang!
One throw that bell will go clang,
Eye on the target and wham,
One shot, one gun shot and bam!
Hey, Mr. Arnstein, here I am …

I’ll march my band out, I will beat my drum,
And if I’m fanned out, your turn at bat, sir,
At least I didn’t fake it, hat, sir,
I guess I didn’t make it
Get ready for me love, ’cause I’m a “comer”
I simply gotta march, my heart’s a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #698: ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ – Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel and Lea Michele

  1. Clay says:

    This mash-up is a very neat idea and well-executed. I wish the sound was better on the Idina Menzel segment… I hear a buzzing out of one speaker during those parts that distracts from the song. Other than that it’s damn-near perfect.

    I find two-thirds of these women incredibly attractive (sorry, Babs). Especially Lea Michele.

    I’m going to find the time one day soon to give in to the hype and watch the DVDs of Glee’s first season. It’s easy to put off the time commitment of climbing on yet another television bandwagon, but as I discovered with Mad Men and Friday Night Lights (for my money, the two absolute best shows on TV), the fans and critics are always right.

  2. Dana says:

    What a cool video!

    Glee doesn’t always work in terms of a dramedy, but when it hits, it hits big, both as musical and as dramedy. It is, by and large, an hour of sheer musical joy, often with funny and poignant moments mixed in. Those who are not watching (yes, I’m talking to you vacationing blogger!) are missing the parade..

  3. pegclifton says:

    Wow! I just love this video, and isn’t it nice that young people are singing the old standards. Dad always says (about musicals) “they just don’t write songs like they used to” Anyway, Babs is still the best, but these young women are certainly wonderful! I can see why you enjoy Glee so much, and I’ll have to netflix the first season soon.

  4. Maddie says:

    Give into the hype Clay!!! 😛 But seriously, I love Glee and I think the show produces so many awesome covers… even covers that sound nothing like the original song. Two of the ladies featured in this video were on Glee, and I loved their cover of poker face much more than the actual song. In my opinion, they make a wonderful mother daughter team (for singing in Glee that is, but they do look freakishly alike) 😛 Dont Rain on My Parade is such an uplifting song, and I can’t really comment on the two other ladies but I think it fits Rachel’s character perfectly. 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    I left out that last little detail as I was attempting not to provide any spoilers for those unitiated gleeks out there. Still, Maddie posts a video that definitely demonstrates how this show can take it to the next level. I agree that this version is one that actually helps me “get” the song.

    And, literal casting aside, I think Idina Menzel is a kind of musical mother to Lea Michele, just as Barbra Streisand is Idina’s musical mom.

  6. Kerrie says:

    The moment I’ve been waiting for all week from our Guest Blogger!!! Hooray!!

    I totally gave in to the hype about Glee (due in large part to Amy’s posting of the “Defying Gravity” “Diva-Off” clip on Facebook several months back) and I have never been sorry!! Each episode of the show is like a Broadway musical in itself. The highs and lows are just wonderful and the music is outstanding across the board.

    But I digress… to today’s SOTD. I don’t know if I got more goosebumps reading your entry or watching/listening to the mash-up of three such amazing performers. Let’s just say that both conveyed exactly what they were meant to. 🙂 I agree completely with your comment about how this show is making the music “our own.” For instance, I’ve never been a Kiss fan (I couldn’t even have told you the title of a song by Kiss before this season of Glee), but I could listen to the two songs of theirs performed late in the season over and over again. They are not Kiss songs anymore (sorry, Gene Simmons), they are part of a new musical library and I am repeatedly checking them out! 🙂 And the way the show’s creator (whose genius is on display AGAIN with this show) pays tribute to musical icons (not just Madonna) is such a great way of keeping their music relevant to a whole new generation. What a great idea!

    Finally, I have to also agree with Maddie’s comment about some of the covers really being superior to the originals. I already liked the song “Poker Face” in its original format (what can I say? I like pop and it’s catchy as hell), but the Rachel/Shelby version just blew me away. Even Lady Gaga didn’t know that song could be THAT brilliant.

    I hope the second season of Glee continues to push the envelope on musical arrangements and tributes and lives up to the extremely high bar it set for itself in season one. I know I’ll be watching no matter what. Clay, you would do yourself a favor to get on board. Even Carlos, who is NOT into “musicals” watched the entire first season with me over the space of 5 days – and is already asking to start over at the beginning when he finishes the bar. 🙂 Come on in, Clay, the water is GREAT!

    P.S. Great job this week, Guest Blogger!! 🙂

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