When a song, usually from a musical, has a popular version with rewritten lyrics, because the original lyrics were too character-specific or just not commercial enough. This is likely to turn it into a love song
if it wasn't originally.
This phenomenon is related to the Award Bait Song
. See also Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics
, Theme Tune Extended
For the inversion, see Repurposed Pop Song
- "The Bad In Every Man" from Manhattan Melodrama was rewritten at MGM's request as "Blue Moon" (actually the fourth lyric written for the tune), which went on to become a massive hit.
- Rodgers and Hart did this earlier, if less drastically, with "Isn't It Romantic?" and "Lover" from Love Me Tonight. In the movie, the former song is worked into an elaborate montage, and the latter includes a Hurricane of Puns about horseback riding.
- The popular version of "Anything Goes" is a love song; as Cole Porter originally wrote it for the Broadway show Anything Goes, it was a straight List Song.
- As Pete Stuyvesant's Villain Love Song in Knickerbocker Holiday, "September Song" included the line "And I have lost one tooth and I walk a little lame". The popular version has instead "When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame".
- "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" has very different lyrics in The Lion King than the version sung by Elton John. Ditto his versions of "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait to be King".
- Stephen Sondheim partially rewrote the lyrics of "Putting It Together" from Sunday In The Park With George for Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album. "Girl" was substituted for "George," and several lines were changed in less trivial ways.
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has slightly more downbeat lyrics in Meet Me in St. Louis than in the popular version, which changes the lines "Through the years we all will be together if the Lord allows / Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow" to "...if the fates allow / Hang a shining star upon the highest bough." However, the lyrics were changed even before filming, because Judy Garland flatly refused to sing such depressing lyrics to little Margaret O'Brien (Tootie). The original featured lines such as "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last". If you've ever wondered about the Lyrical Dissonance of the song, now you know.
- "I Will Always Return" is about homecoming and family in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The pop version is a paint-by-numbers love song.
- "Fugue For Tinhorns" from Guys and Dolls, with its lyrics rewritten to be a more generic round, was issued under the title "Three-Cornered Tune." However, the original "Fugue For Tinhorns" still got several pop covers. There was also a solo version of "Sue Me," whose verse has completely different music and lyrics ("So you're all the time right and I'm all the time wrong") than the show version ("You promise me this, you promise me that").
- "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", a Coca Cola commercial jingle so popular extended versions of the commercial were made was reworked into a single with the soft drink references re-written. In a way, this is almost a double subversion; not only is the commercial more remembered than the single, omitting the parts about "buying the world a Coke" made the tune less commercial. Well, less of a commercial, anyway.
- Older Than Radio: "Silvered is the raven hair" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience was made into the Victorian parlour song "In the twilight of our love," with new lyrics by Hugh Conway to Arthur Sullivan's melody.
- In the separately published version of "Out Of My Dreams," the lyrics to the bridge are different from those used in Oklahoma!. (The refrain is identical to what Laurey sings in the show.)
- Sammy Davis Jr's "The Candyman", originally from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, changes one line: "Willy Wonka makes" becomes "The Candyman makes".
- The antiwar play Johnny Johnson by Paul Green, with songs composed by Kurt Weill, ended with "Johnny's Song," the philosophical ballad of a Wide-Eyed Idealist turned Knight in Sour Armor struggling to survive in a bellicose world. Chappell, who published the songs from the show, had popular songwriter Edward Heyman write entirely new lyrics to "Johnny's Song," and published it as a torch song titled "To Love You And To Lose You." Paul Green was not pleased.
- Another Disney example is "Reflection" from Mulan, the pop version of which was performed by Christina Aguilera.
- Also from Mulan is the less commonly heard "True To Your Heart." The version that plays over the credits is an exhortation to live honestly and stand by what you believe in. The one in the music video (and on the soundtrack album) says that if you're true to your heart, it will tell you to date the singer.
- Early in its development/workshopping, the title song from The Phantom of the Opera was released as a single (complete with video) with dramatically different lyrics from those in the final theatrical production. If you compare them, both sets of lyrics are totally innocuous, just different. The Phantom's singer on the single, Steve Harvey, was in the running for the role, but in the end Andrew Lloyd Webber and company decided his rock-trained voice wasn't quite what they needed for the final show.
- "Tessie" from The Silver Slipper was played on a whim at the 1916 World Series, and became known as a good luck song. In 2004, Dropkick Murphys rereleased it with lyrics explicitly about the Red Sox and Nuff Ced McGreevy, and it proved to be a good luck song.
- Kerry Ellis recorded a rock version of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, which was reworked to remove the references to Oz. Produced by Brian May of Queen.
- Idina Menzel also did a solo pop version, which removes Glinda's lines from the "Unlimited" section and covers it by looping in lines from "The Wizard And I"; this is the version found in the published vocal selections.
- Mika rewrote "Popular" as "Popular Song".
- "No One Mourns The Wicked," as published in the vocal selections, includes a short vocal bridge that replaces Glinda's spoken lines and the flashback to Elphaba's birth from the show version.
- 13 has single versions of the opening theme and "A Little More Homework".
- The Cirque du Soleil concert tour Delirium was based around rewritten and/or rearranged pop versions of songs from most of the shows from Saltimbanco through Varekai.
- In Amaluna, most if not all of the songs are in "Cirquish", but on the show's soundtrack album, many of the songs have been rewritten in English.
- Transformers: The Movie used a hair-metal version of the show's theme tune, with its full lyrics during the credits.
- The theme of The Raccoons, "Run with Us", was initially sung by Steve Lunt, then re-recorded by Lisa Lougheed, who also voiced Lisa Raccoon and produced several other songs for the show. Her version was featured on her Evergreen Nights album along with the other songs sung or co-produced by her.
- "Follow Me" from Camelot has an alternate lyric having no lines in common with the show lyric except the title and "We shall fly." This was the version sung by Frank Sinatra.
- Two of the cut songs from Aladdin; "Proud of Your Boy" and "Call Me a Princess", were given this treatment, by Clay Aiken and Kerry Butler respectively.
- Those who are used to hearing The Seekers' cheery "Georgy Girl" on oldies radio may be shocked by the version used in the original film, where the lyrics are much darker and more cynical, and reference the title character's specific situation ("Though he's not a dream come true, at least he's a millionaire ...").
- Several songs from Team StarKid productions were reworked for Darren Criss' live music performances. Compare the theatrical, Potter-ised version of "Stutter" to the live performance version.
- The title song from Help! I'm a Fish was covered bubblegum dance pop style by Creamy of "I Do, I Do, I Do" fame, as well as by The Little Trees, and in Dutch by K3.
- "The Party's Over" from Bells Are Ringing has a separately issued version with a few different lines in the refrain (reputedly changed at Judy Holliday's insistence), as well an entirely different verse that makes no reference to Melisande Scott but does Call Back to the song "It's A Perfect Relationship."
- In the published version "Aren't You Kinda Glad We Did?" from The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Ira Gershwin rewrote the last lines of the verse in the hope that the only mildly suggestive song wouldn't be banned from airwaves. It was.
- The soundtrack version of "(I've Got To) Find a Way" from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Magical Mystery Cure" has a third verse in the middle, along with changing the last refrain from "Oh, why" to "I'll try".
- Demi Lovato's version of "Let It Go" from Frozen.