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Music Monday on Tuesday: If You Hadn't, But You Did

The lyrics are Comden and Green, the music is Jule Styne. The song was originally written for Dolores Gray for a review called Two on the Aisle. The song is “If You Hadn’t, But You Did”, magnificently performed by Kristin Chenoweth.

It’s just about a perfect example of a particular kind of Tin Pan Alley song, mostly an excuse to show off (1) the talent of the singer and (b) the cleverness of the lyricist. Mostly the latter. The singer is a Woman Betrayed, but really it’s all about about finding lines to rhyme with the word if. Tiff, cliff, stiff, whiff, handkerchief. Flat-bottomed skiff, bare midriff. Comden and Green also makes use of the fashion for dropping the last syllables of words to make a cutesy slang: teriff, specif, what’s the diff, marriage certif, no signif, South Pacif, smile beautif. There are also internal rhymes: If/I had not seen you pen/sexy letters to Gwen/in your own heiroglyph, if/you had not had the cheek/to be gone for a week/saying ‘back in a jiff’.

The music lopes along cheerily, countering the potential bitterness of the lyrics, although of course the lyrics themselves counter their subject by being so wonderfully silly. Ms. Chenoweth uses her party trick of switching back and forth between her opera voice and her broadway belter to great effect, and she swings hard when she needs to.

Oh, and part of the gag when it’s staged (I assume going back to the original revue) is that at the end of the intro, the singer shoots her wayward lover, and sings the rest of it to his dead body. In the video I’ve attempted to embed below is some of the best dead-guy dancing I’ve seen.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,