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Monday, January 26, 2009

Send in the Clowns

By Stephen Sondheim
1973

Despite his distinguished career as a Broadway composer, this was Sondheim's only major pop hit, thanks primarily to the 1975 recording by Judy Collins. It was written for the musical A Little Night Music, in which it was introduced by Glynis Johns, for whom Sondheim specifically wrote the song. Its a complex piece using a triple meter, and containing four verses and a bridge. Its lyrics concern an older woman who has been rejected by the man she regrets not having pursued earlier in life.

Lyrics:

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Where are the clowns?

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move...
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours.
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines...
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want...
Sorry, my dear!
And where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career.
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns...
Well, maybe next year.

Recorded By:

Barbra Streisand
Shirley Bassey
Frank Sinatra
Grace Jones
Stan Kenton

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