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The Greatest Sondheim Song

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#1
Posted: 9/2/15 at 4:44pm

Upon the sad news of Dean Jones' passing today, I haven't stopped playing "Being Alive" over and over and over again. I personally maintain that it is Sondheim's strongest song from his strongest score.

 

To you, what is Mr. Sondheim's singular greatest song? Please, no lists, no full scores, no "I can't decide, so here's two"—pick ONE. 

Marian The Librarian
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#2
Posted: 9/2/15 at 4:48pm

I have to second 'Being Alive'. That song brings me to tears nearly every time I listen to it. It's probably my favorite musical theatre song of all time, Sondheim or otherwise. 

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#3
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:08pm

Hands down "Another Hundred People."

 

Sondheim has many great songs, great for many reasons in their own right, but I think that is the one that perfectly sums up his unique style.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#4
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:12pm

In my personal opinion, I think "Sunday" is the best. The song on its own is beautiful, but the manner it which it brings both acts to a close is brilliant, to say the least. He doesn't even use lyrics that are specifically related to the characters and their emotions, and yet I feel it in the song fully and completely.

 

Honorable mentions to: 

Someone in a Tree (Pacific Overtures)

I Wish I Could Forget You (Passion)

Johanna Trio/Quartet (Sweeney Todd) 

The Ballad of Booth (Assassins)

Being Alive (objectively. However I prefer Sorry-Grateful on a more personal level)

No More (Into the Woods)

The Miller's Son or Send In the Clowns (Night Music)

Our Time (Merrily)

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#5
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:15pm

Gun to my head to pick just one - would have to be Being Alive too. It's also my favorite to perform. I was lucky enough to in college and hope to do so again.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#6
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:16pm

All of them

....but the world goes 'round
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#7
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:18pm

Taz, if Sophie can choose between her kids, you can choose one of his songs! The Greatest Sondheim Song

I hate how much I've been thinking about this since it was posted.  I needed to decide on my criteria: expression of character? Commentary on the larger world?  Advancement of plot?  

I decided form follows function and picked the song that I think is breathtaking in its scope, masterful in the way it moves the plot forward and sets up all the pieces for what comes next and reveals character through extraordinary lyrics:

A Weekend in the Country

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#8
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:24pm

In Context:

The Miracle Song - Anyone Can Whistle

 

Standalone:

Sunday - Sunday in the Park With George

Updated On: 9/2/15 at 05:24 PM
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#9
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:28pm

Being Alive -- heartbreaking.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#10
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:30pm

SonofRobbieJ said: I decided form follows function and picked the song that I think is breathtaking in its scope, masterful in the way it moves the plot forward and sets up all the pieces for what comes next and reveals character through extraordinary lyrics: A Weekend in the Country

Using the same reasoning, I would come to the same conclusion.

But the first songs that came to my mind were Sunday and Bring Alive.

 

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#11
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:34pm

Yeah...my final three were Finishing the Hat (works both as a revelation of character as well as creator of the song) and Someone in a Tree (an extraordinary statement of how history is made and observed).  But I had to go with Weekend in the Country.  

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#12
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:38pm

Tough...but "Not A Day Goes By"  Blessings on you, Dean.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#13
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:50pm

I'm so new to discovering the genius of Sondheim but I would say so far, for me, "I'm still Here" that's the theme song of my life after 45 hard years

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#14
Posted: 9/2/15 at 5:51pm

I agree, "Being Alive." Blew me away the first time I heard it, sung by John Barrowman in 2002 at the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#15
Posted: 9/2/15 at 6:10pm
"That'll Show Him"
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#16
Posted: 9/2/15 at 6:22pm

Ok Robbie, I'll narrow it down to 5 with the caveat being that it will be a different 5 in an hour and so on.

 

 

But as for right now:

 

Someone in a Tree

 

The Game

 

Could I Leave You

 

Not a Day Goes By

 

Sunday

 

Special mention: The Ballad of Booth

....but the world goes 'round
Updated On: 9/3/15 at 06:22 PM
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#17
Posted: 9/2/15 at 6:22pm

After Eight lol you are such a little wisenheimer.

 

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#18
Posted: 9/2/15 at 6:50pm

His most brilliant is probably Epiphany, and his most emblematic is definitely Putting It Together, but my favorite is probably Side by Side, for doing so many things at once- saluting classic musical theatre, deconstructing classical musical theatre, building to an unexpected emotional dark point, experimenting both with traditional and atypical musical sounds, and accomplishing that rare thing, a hummable hook, at the same time.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#19
Posted: 9/2/15 at 7:00pm

#1 Our Time

Merrily we Roll Along

The new cast recording

its so optimistic and inspiring to me...

 

like many others, my favorite ONE Sondheim song changes often based on which show of his ive seen most recently or what mood im in

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#20
Posted: 9/2/15 at 7:25pm
Sunday
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#21
Posted: 9/2/15 at 8:46pm

I will assume After Eight was being facetious, but I have a serious soft spot for "That'll Show Him." It's a go-to audition piece for me...and it has the same theme as Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#22
Posted: 9/3/15 at 8:28am

"but my favorite is probably Side by Side, for doing so many things at once- saluting classic musical theatre, deconstructing classical musical theatre, building to an unexpected emotional dark point, experimenting both with traditional and atypical musical sounds, and accomplishing that rare thing, a hummable hook, at the same time."

 

Talk about  a gluey glob of gobbledygook!

 

And one other thing.  The OP stated clearly, "pick ONE."

 

What is it about the word "one" that some people here do not understand?

 

 

Updated On: 9/3/15 at 08:28 AM
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The Greatest Sondheim Song#23
Posted: 9/3/15 at 8:35am

This is almost impossible to answer but normally when I get asked this question, my answer is Sunday from Sunday in the Park With George. While I do really love the lyrics, it is the music that pushes it over the edge for me.

And now, I am going to cheat and single out some others I adore:

From Merrily We Roll Along, I love Not a Day Goes By and Old Friends....and as a character song, you don't get much better than Franklin Shepard Inc when looking for a male song featuring a nervous breakdown.

Company and Sweeney Todd each feature a few songs I would put high on my list. And I also adore The Miller's Son from A Little Night Music.

I better just stop now or I will be here all day.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#24
Posted: 9/3/15 at 9:11am

I'm gonna go with "The Road You Didn't Take" from Follies. No other song has got me thinking so much.

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The Greatest Sondheim Song#25
Posted: 9/3/15 at 9:15am

A Little Priest

"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson