The darling of two major motion-picture musicals of the 1960s, Dame Julie Andrews is one of a kind. Her iconic image and voice have won her numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards and one Academy Award. Whether on screen or on stage, multiple generations of Americans have grown up singing songs she made famous, and that's why we are here with today's list.
We took a look at Andrews' best lyrics a little while ago, and of course, those songs have to appear on our list of the Top 10 best songs in her career. In truth, it was hard to feel the need to look anywhere else beyond the three musical films she starred in a long time ago: Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and Victor/Victoria. Like the three best "albums" of a band's career, sometimes the gems just cluster together for us, making it easier to enjoy all at once.
So, without further adieu (for you and you and you), here is our list. We hope we have your favorites covered!
The sound of it really is quite strange, to say the least, and when it's overplayed it resembles a never-ending song of silly youth that ones annoying little brother can't get enough of. However, we cannot ignore its iconic impact upon children everywhere, running to the dictionary to make sure it was a real word. Every kid that sees Mary Poppins has a new favorite word, and that in itself is pretty cool. Thank goodness we all grow out of it, though ... until we have our own kids, and the cycle is repeated. That's iconic.
It's not so much the song itself but the performance of it that makes it so amazing: In Victor/Victoria, Andrews plays a woman impersonating a man impersonating a woman. Got that? The song shows off her tremendous vocal range unlike any other she performed in her career (except maybe No. 3 below). The only downside here is that Robert Preston somewhat shows up Andrews' version of the song with his own comedic take on it in the final scene of the film.
There are dark elements to the storyline in Mary Poppins, and the meaning of this scene in the film certainly changes for viewers as they get older. The lyrics have a much deeper significance as well, the older the audience is when it hears them. However, the song itself is quite beautiful and sad, and it's a song that stops us in our tracks and makes us listen.
7. "I Have Confidence"
The first of five entries on our list from The Sound of Music, it's this song that gets covered the most by real-life ingenues. And why not? The journey Maria's character takes in the film soars and sinks while triumphing in the end, thanks to Andrews' portrayal. It's a song about life, really, and one we all can learn from still today.
6. "The Lonely Goatherd"
It's the light-hearted playfulness and the yodeling which makes this song stand out so many years later. Andrews' vocal range is on display here, something that would serve her well later in her career, of course. It's also the affectations amid the singing that make the song so memorable and fun for us to sing along with every time we hear it.
5. "Something Good"
The most romantic moment in The Sound of Music, this song encapsulates the love story between the Captain and Maria. Christopher Plummer chimes in with a few lines, but this isn't a real duet. This song feels a bit dated at times, thanks to modern gender politics and social progress, but it's a very sweet expression of incredulity most of us have felt at one time or another in our lives. What did we do to deserve love? Something good!
Every school child learns this song now as a way to learn the notes, and what easier way to learn them? Admittedly, the film sequence with the von Trapp children makes the song more memorable, and that just adds to its charm. The kids themselves bring an innocence to the lyrics that make the recording even more dynamic in our minds.
3. "Le Jazz Hot!"
It's really the signature song from Victor/Victoria, and it's so much fun. Glee even covered it, so it has modern oomph, too. Andrews' vocal range again impresses the audience, as she goes from low to high to low to high again. The lyrics themselves are fun, telling an American story everyone should know, really. That didactic aspect of the song just makes it even more awesome. Just try not to sing along with this one!
2. "A Spoonful of Sugar"
The most memorable tune from Mary Poppins, nothing is sweeter than Andrews' dulcet tones in this song. The way the lyrics win the audience over, too, is unforgettable. Could anyone else have pulled this song off the way Andrews did in the film? No. That makes it her song, and it makes it iconic (if not quite simplistic, in truth—sometimes less is more).
1. "My Favorite Things"
This is the song that defines Andrews in most people's hearts. Why is it our favorite thing? Andrews' voice floats on those raindrops, and it soothes those kittens. It makes going outside in the snow fun with our mittens. It even makes brown-paper holiday gift wrap fun. You get the point. This song instantly cheers anyone up. Thanks, Julie; we owe you one.