Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Big Spender

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Released  September 1967
Recorded  1967
Length  3:24
Format  45 RPM
Genre  Jazz, vocal
Label  United Artists Records

"Big Spender" is a song written by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields for the musical Sweet Charity, first performed in 1966. It is sung, in the musical, by the dance hostess girls; it was choreographed by Bob Fosse for the Broadway musical and the film. It is set to the beat of a striptease as the girls taunt the customers.


Shirley Bassey version

A hit version of the song by Shirley Bassey reached #21 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1967. This version is featured in the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and in the 2005 film Nynne. The song has become one of Bassey's signature songs. She has performed the song numerous times, most notably for the 80th birthday of Prince Philip. She also sang it at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.

In December 2007 it was re-released in a new remixed version as a digital download. This was the third and final single released from the album Get the Party Started. The single features a remix from Pink Pound and two instrumental remixes that were not included on the album release. Unlike the previous two singles this track featured a remix of a previous released recording, the vocal track was taken from a session recorded in 1984 for the album I Am What I Am. There was no promotion undertaken for the single and no video was made to support the release.

Track listing

  1. Big Spender
  2. Dangerous Game

Recorded versions

  • Peggy Lee, who recorded the song in 1966. Her rendition became a hit on the US Easy Listening chart in that year.
  • The Ritchie Family, disco version from their 1978 album "American Generation"
  • Chaka Khan, ClassiKhan (2004)
  • Bette Midler covered the song for her Peggy Lee tribute album Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook which was released in 2005.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt recorded her version of the song for a promo for her new TV Series The Client List.
  • Lana Del Rey sings a variation of the song's chorus throughout English rapper Smiler's song "Spender" for his 2012 mixtape All I Know.
  • Theophilus London for his 2012 mixtape "Rose Island Vol. 1" raps over a DJ Carnage remix featuring ASAP Rocky
  • Skepta raps over a grime remix of Theophilus London's version.
  • Dee Snider with Cyndi Lauper, In the album "Dee does Broadway" which was released in 2012
  • Live performances

  • In the late 1970s Tom Waits often used to perform "Big Spender" as a medley with the song "Small Change".
  • Queen performed it Live at Wembley Stadium on 12 July 1986, and also performed it live in the early 1970s.
  • Dionne Warwick and Debby Boone performed the song on Boone's show One Step Closer in 1982.
  • The Pussycat Dolls performed the song live at the 2004 MTV Asia Awards, with Melody Thornton on lead vocals.
  • The Pussycat Dolls Doll Domination Tour that started in 2009, featured Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, and Kimberly Wyatt dancing "Big Spender", following by a performance by Melody Thornton.
  • Parodies and alternate lyrics

  • The song appeared in Muriel Cigar commercials in the 1970s, sung by Edie Adams. A modified version of the tune entreated the viewer to "...spend a little dime with me", referring to the price of a Muriel Cigar.
  • In an episode of British Asian sketch comedy show Goodness Gracious Me, the cast perform a parody of the song called "Big Spinster".
  • In the "Two Bad Neighbors" episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson performed the song at a yard sale with new lyrics to reflect the merchandise he is promoting.
  • In the Discworld Noir computer game the 'Troll Saphire' performed a parody of "Big Spender", with the opening lyrics as "The minute you walked through the wall, I could tell that you were a troll of destruction"
  • In the "Viva Mars Vegas" episode of Futurama, a parody version is played of "Big Spender", with the lyrics as "Hey Rich Lobster", when Dr. Zoidberg shows up at a casino on Mars with millions of dollars to spend and lose.
  • Samples

  • The 2007 single "Roc-A-Fella Billionaires" by Freeway featuring Jay-Z samples Helen Gallagher's version of the song.
  • The 2012 single "Big Spender" by Theophilus London and ASAP Rocky samples Peggy Lee's rendition of "Big Spender".
  • Television and film appearances

  • During the animated opening credits of The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), animator Richard Williams has a lineup of Pink Panthers in a parody of the hostess girls' staging; Henry Mancini quotes "Big Spender," seguing seamlessly into the "Pink Panther Theme."
  • In Hou Hsiao-hsien's 1987 film Daughter of the Nile, the song plays twice from Lin Hsiao-fang's restaurant.
  • In National Lampoon's European Vacation, Ellen Griswold performs "Big Spender" with exotic dancing while Clark (her husband) videotapes it.
  • In "Dream On", a season 1 episode of Glee, a woman auditioning for Les Misérables sings this song. The song was performed again on the season 3 premiere "The Purple Piano Project" by Sugar (Vanessa Lengies), a student who can't sing.
  • The song was sung by Ellis on the first episode of the The Glee Project.
  • In Grounded for Life Sean has it approved for his daughter Lily to perform "Big Spender" at her school talent show.
  • In the promo for The Client List (TV series) Jennifer Love Hewitt performs this song.
  • In the trailer for Johnny Depp's Mortdecai
  • References

    Big Spender Wikipedia