Romm Diamonds Blog
September 18th, 2015
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today's nostalgic magic carpet ride down Memory Lane finds Peggy Lee singing "Baubles, Bangles & Beads" — a popular tune from 1954's Tony Award-winning production of Kismet.

baubles

Set in the year 1071, the story tells how a poor, but clever, street poet named Hajj follows his "Kismet" — his "Fate" — and rises to become the Emir of Bagdad, while his beautiful daughter Marsinah falls in love with the handsome, young Caliph. In a final triumph, Hajj goes off at the final curtain with one of the Baghdad's greatest beauties.

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 Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra — recorded the song in 1954.

In Lee's version, she sings about how jingly gifts can sometimes lead to an engagement ring: "Some day 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, "Some day 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.

Kismet opened on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1954. It was also successful in London's West End and has earned several revivals. A film version was released by MGM 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.

The video of Lee's live performance of "Baubles, Bangles & Beads" was shot in Sweden in 1964 (the video quality is rough, but the audio is excellent). As a bonus, we're also posting Sinatra's version. Enjoy!

"Baubles, Bangles & Beads"
Written by Robert Wright and George Forrest. Performed by Peggy Lee.

Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-linga
Baubles, bangles, bright shiny beads
Sparkles, spangles, my heart will sing, singa-linga
Wearin' baubles, bangles and beads

I'm just a glitter and gleam so
Make somebody dream so that

Some day he may buy me a ring, ringa-linga
I've heard that's where it leads
Wearin' baubles, bangles, and beads

Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-linga
Baubles, bangles, bright, shiny beads
Sparkles, spangles, my heart will sing, singa-linga
Wearin' baubles, bangles, and beads

I'm just glitter and gleam so
Make somebody dream so that

Some day he may, buy me a ring, ringa-linga
I've heard that that's where it leads
Wearin' baubles and bangles, sparkles, spangles
Loads and loads of baubles, just give me those bangles
I gotta have sparkels, bangles and beads

Peggy Lee's version

Frank Sinatra's version

Credit: Peggy Lee publicity photo.