When Rosalind’s Russell’s vocal tracks for “Gypsy” were released on CD in 2005, they were not her final versions. Here is her last attempt at this song, and it’s better (though still not usable).
Russell was completely dubbed in this number by Lisa Kirk in the released film. Roz includes exactly three paragraphs on “Gypsy” in her autobiography, “Life Is A Banquet.”
* At first I was only to act the part; Rose’s singing was dubbed by a professional with a big trained voice. When I heard it, I got sick. “It isn’t me,” I said. “I’m bad, but I can’t stand to hear that. Everybody knows I don’t sing operatically, it throws the balance off.” Warner Brothers agreed and rescored the picture, and I sang my own part. People still say that I didn’t, but that’s Roz, and nobody else, as Rose on the soundtrack of Gypsy.
*Roz, we love you, but if that’s you in the film, then who’s that singing in these clips? Ethel?
Rumor has it that Merman, rightfully angry that she was not cast in the film, got hold of these recordings and used to play them for friends at parties. Now why would she do that? =)
(Note that she sings the original lyric, “Hey, L.A., I’m comin’ your way” – apparently the story had not been rewritten at the time of filming.)
Though she had starred in the stage musical “Wonderful Town” ten years earlier, Russell’s voice didn’t have the power required for the score. After listening to her recording of the numbers, even Russell had to agree that she would need to be dubbed, though she would deny this, too, in her memoirs. Russell’s voice was used only for the patter portions of the numbers. For the real singing, Broadway belter Lisa Kirk, who had starred in the original stage production of “Kiss Me, Kate,” modulated her voice to a near perfect match for Russell’s