“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’“ is the opening song from the musical Oklahoma!….which premiered on Broadway in 1943….after being written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II….man, Oscar and Hammerstein songs were played often by Bone Daddy on Granny Jean’s piano throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s….cuz he played them all, be it South Pacific, The Sound of Music, State Fair, Oklahoma, Carousel, Flower Drum Song, Cinderella and more. Bone Daddy played music by ear….as he could hear a song, go to the piano, and “pick it out” until he could play the song he just heard….which took maybe 10 minutes….for this was truly a God given talent….as Bone Daddy used the piano as his therapy….while playing different emotions of the day….joy, love, anger, upset, sentimental…cuz it usually music that expressed what was going on in his life….and he loved “big production musicals” on the big screen….and the truth be known….Rogers and Hammerstein were at the “top shelf” of movie musicals for two decades.
The leading male character in Oklahoma!, Curly McLain, sings the song at the beginning of the first scene of the musical….while having a refrain of “Oh, what a beautiful mornin’! / Oh, what a beautiful day! / I’ve got a beautiful feelin’ / Ev’rythin’s goin’ my way.” Curly’s “brimming optimism is perfectly captured by Rodgers’ ebullient music and Hammerstein’s buoyant pastoral lyrics.”
This was the first song of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical collaboration to be heard by theater audiences…..while becoming one of their most famous numbers and “quickly became one of the most popular American songs to emerge from the wartime era, gaining currency away from Broadway first on the radio and recordings, and then later on numerous television variety shows.” New York Times writer Brooks Atkinson’s review of the original production in The New York Times wrote that the number changed the history of musical theater by writing “After a verse like that, sung to a buoyant melody, the banalities of the old musical stage became intolerable.”
However, in the video seen herewith….as Ray Charles sings “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'” with just a bit more “musical spice” that the genius of Brother Ray…..is easily recognizable to those who remember Curly McLain version, as a significantly more “soul spoken” than Curly’s….as Ray Charles performs “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'” live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1980….man, Brother Ray could sure make a song better than intended.