Everything's Coming Up Roses

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About Everything's Coming Up Roses

"Everything's Coming Up Roses" is a song from the 1959 Broadway musical Gypsy, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne. Introduced in the musical's inaugural production by Ethel Merman, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" became one of Merman's signature songs. According to Sammy Cahn, the song had its genesis in the 1947 musical High Button Shoes, for which he was the lyricist. Cahn wrote lyrics for a song entitled Betwixt and Between to be sung by a female character who can't decide between two men. Jule Styne, who was that musical's composer, wrote music for it, but the director decided the song didn't fit well into the show and removed it. When composing Gypsy, Styne decided to re-use the music for what became "Everything's Coming Up Roses", with new lyrics by Sondheim. It took Sondheim a week to come up with the title, the composer recalling: "The point was to [coin] a phrase that sounded as if it had been in the language for years but was in fact invented for the show." (The similar phrase, "come up smelling like roses" has in fact been in general usage since the early 20th century.) The show's director Jerome Robbins response to Sondheim's lyric was: "Everything's coming up Rose's what?" prompting Sondheim's assurance that "if anybody else has that confusion - anybody connected with the production, in the audience, any of your relatives - I will change the title.""Everything's Coming Up Roses" is performed at the end of the first act of Gypsy by stage mother Rose, who has just learned her daughter June has eloped and in effect left the vaudeville act Rose has devoted her life to without a star. Rose's response to make her other daughter Louise the object of her dubious star-making abilities. The title "Everything's Coming Up Roses" is a pun: Besides "roses" representing happiness, the title is referencing the possessive "Rose's" as in Rose's way or "Rose" as in Rose becoming a star herself, through her daughter. Ethel Merman biographer Brian Kellow notes that while objectively "Everything's Coming Up Roses" seems "a big, brassy paean to the power of positive thinking...done in the old, electric Merman style", within the context of the show "the song becomes a chilling illustration of blind ambition mixed with megalomania". Kellow quotes Stephen Sondheim to the effect that while Merman's comedic prowess was "nonpareil" as showcased in Gypsy's first act she lacked the dramatic precision to be fully effective as the play grew darker; thus, Sondheim says of "Everything's Coming Up Roses": "I wrote a song of the type that [Merman] had sung all her life, like [the Anything Goes number] 'Blow, Gabriel, Blow', which only requires a trumpet-voiced affirmation." However Sondheim adds that Merman performed the song with an "intensity [which] came as a surprise."The emergence of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" as a Broadway anthem was evidenced by the song's melody being used to open and close the 14th Tony Awards ceremony held April 24, 1960 (ironically Gypsy took none of its eight Tony nominations). In 1974, Ethel Merman appeared in a television advertisement singing new lyrics to the tune of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" to promote the Colgate-Palmolive dishwashing liquid Vel. That same year Merman recorded "Everything's Coming Up Roses" for her album Merman Sings Merman recorded with Stanley Black & the London Festival Orchestra. In 1979, Merman again recorded the song for her album Ethel Merman Disco Album. In her final film appearance, a cameo in the 1980 film Airplane! as shell-shocked soldier Lieutenant Hurwitz who believes he is Ethel Merman, Merman sings a few bars of "Everything's Coming Up Roses". 


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Here we are in court today
Rose just took the stand
She's divorcin' me for reasons
I still don't understand

That dress is showin' more of her
Than I've seen in years
And the story that she's tellin's
Even got the judge in tears

She's accusin' me of hangin' out
With girls of ill repute
Adultery, abandonment
Even alcohol abuse

I just heard my mother shout
Your honor throw the book
And even my attorney
Just gave me a dirty look

Everything's coming up roses
The house, the car
The kids and all the cash
Everything's coming up roses
And I'll be lucky
If I keep the shirt that's on my back

My head is buried in my hands
The courtroom is adjourned
She got all I ever made
And all I'll ever earn

If I had a handkerchief
I'd break right down and cry
Why, even Johnny Carson
Got a better deal than mine

Everything's coming up roses
The house, the car
The kids and all the cash
Everything's coming up roses
And I'll be lucky
If I keep the shirt that's on my back

Everything's coming up roses
And I'll be lucky
If I keep the shirt that's on my back

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Carol Burnett

Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933) is an American actress, comedienne, singer and writer. She is best known for her long-running TV variety show, The Carol Burnett Show for CBS. She has achieved success on stage, television and film in varying genres including dramatic and comedy roles. more »

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Written by: Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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