Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you wonderful tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s magic carpet ride down Memory Lane finds Peggy Lee singing “Baubles, Bangles & Beads” — a widely covered tune from 1954’s Tony Award-winning production of Kismet.
The Broadway success of “Baubles, Bangles & Beads” inspired a number of top singers of the day to prospect for Kismet gold — as in gold records. Four artists, including chart-toppers Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra, recorded the song in 1954 alone.
In Lee’s version, she sings about how jingly gifts can sometimes lead to an engagement ring: “Someday he may buy me a ring, ringa-linga / I’ve heard that’s where it leads / Wearin’ baubles, bangles, and beads.”
The Sinatra version is slightly different to accommodate the gender difference. He sings, “Someday I may buy her a ring, ringa-linga.”
Lee is credited with the best-selling version of the song, and over the years it has been covered by no fewer than 40 artists. The Who’s Who list includes Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Benny Goodman, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme, Sara Vaughan and Dionne Warwick.
Set in the year 1071, Kizmet tells the story of how a poor, but clever, street poet named Hajj follows his “kismet” (fate) and rises to become the Emir of Bagdad, while his beautiful daughter Marsinah falls in love with the handsome, young Caliph. In the final scene, Hajj wins the heart of one of the Baghdad’s greatest beauties.
Kismet opened on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1954. MGM released a film version in 1955.
Lee had a successful career that spanned six decades. She was a singer, songwriter, composer and actress. She won three Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. She died three years later at the age of 81.
Check out the video of Lee’s live performance of “Baubles, Bangles & Beads.” The clip was shot in Sweden in 1964 (the video quality is poor, but the audio is excellent). We’ve also got the lyrics, below, if you’d like to sing along. Enjoy!
“Baubles, Bangles & Beads”Written by Robert Wright and George Forrest. Performed by Peggy Lee.
Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-lingaBaubles, bangles, bright shiny beadsSparkles, spangles, my heart will sing, singa-lingaWearin’ baubles, bangles and beads
I’ll glitter and gleam soMake somebody dream, so that…
Someday he may buy me a ring, ringa-lingaI’ve heard that’s where it leadsWearin’ baubles, bangles and beads
Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-lingaBaubles, bangles, bright, shiny beadsSparkles, spangles, my heart will sing, singa-lingaWearin’ baubles, bangles and beads
Someday he may, buy me a ring, ringa-lingaI’ve heard that’s where it leadsWearin’ baubles and bangles and beadsBaubles, bangles, baubles and beads
Credit: Peggy Lee photo by General Artists Corporation (management), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.