When Barbara Cook was honored during the Kennedy Center Honors earlier this year, I didn’t know who she is — I was just watching to see the Meryl Streep tribute! I was a little bummed last night, and I thought to myself that I should reconnect with something that made me happy when I was younger. The first thing that came to mind was my youthful devotion to Broadway soundtrack albums (of course!). I started browsing on iTunes, and when I came across some Barbara Cook albums, it initiated my newest obsession.

Miss Cook is, without a doubt, a musical genius. I can’t believe I’ve gone nearly 42 years without knowing about and worshiping her! One of my favorite Broadway love songs as a kid was from The Music Man: “Til There Was You.” Imagine my joy when I learned that Cook originated the role of Marion the Librarian! Here’s her version of the song:

She won a Tony award for her performance in this show.

My newest favorite Broadway song is “Losing My Mind” from Follies. Cook has a great version of this too!

Here she is singing one of her signature tunes, “Ice Cream,” on French television:

One more video, a medley of songs from South Pacific, Camelot, and No Strings:

I’m limiting myself to one album from iTunes at a time, so I started with an anthology of her signature songs. So far, it’s great! Her version of “Hello Young Lovers” is best I’ve ever heard. I’m going to enjoy getting to know her work in more detail!