Our Trilogy of Torch Songs

Enjoy $3 margaritas all day and all night every Monday at Bacchus. Tonight at 6PM, sing along to our Stage & Screen Night and enjoy tasty flatbread pizzas and fresh sandwiches.

Torch Songs are particularly sultry ballads, so named for their slow-burning quality, and usually coming from the American pop-standard canon.

We all sing in the shower and belt out lyrics of heart break. Sing along to some show tunes with us tonight at Stage & Screen Night (starting at 6).

In order to make Torch Songs more sensuous than straight-ahead pop readings, most torch songs are performed with at least a little bit of jazz sensibility and swing. But although torch singers may use the songs as vehicles to show off their vocal range, jazz improvisation is rarely emphasized, instead spotlighting the smooth, seductive tones of the singer's voice.

Torch songs can either celebrate romance or lament heartbreak, but they always create a mood related to affairs of the heart. Very few artists work exclusively in this style, but many pop-oriented jazz singers — especially female ones — devote some space in their repertoire to torch songs.

LOSING MY MIND Stephen Sondheim
There are numerous versions of Sondheim’s soul-crushing, gut-wrenching, beautifully-sung “Losing My Mind” from 1971’s Follies. The three renditions above are among the most unique. Bernadette Peters has a moment of realization that ”…you were just being kind…” that’s right up there with the best torch song moments. Jeremy Jordan gives the song a refreshingly optimistic opening and pours on the emotion at the end. Liza gives her best frenzied madness acting getting help from the Pet Shop Boys beats in a UK chart topper from 1989.


THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY Harold Arlen
Harold Arlen is also the writer of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Of course, Judy Garland gives the most memorable performance in the 1954 masterpiece A Star Is Born. Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon’s o.g. Elder Price) offers up his emotive queer bait in his plaintive and effective yearning. Ben Platt (most recently of Evan Hanson,) gives his tribute to Judy in the song about a man who’s run off and undone you.


AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME Lionel Bart
This is a torch song sung by the character of Nancy in the 1960 musical Oliver! and written by Lionel Bart. Georgia Brown, who was the first actress to play Nancy, introduced the song. It is a love ballad expressing Nancy's love for her criminal boyfriend Bill Sikes despite his abuse and mistreatment of her. In the film adaptation of the musical, it was sung by Shani Wallis. Judy gives the tune a 1964 black and white rendition on her tv show. And, although there were several male versions that swapped the pronoun in the title to SHE, Aaron Tveit’s version with the original lyrics will hit the gut of any listener who’s ever had unrequited love.


Sing to your heart’s content tonight at Bacchus. We’ve got your favorite show tunes from Broadway and Hollywood and beyond. Get a $3 margarita (or a few of them). No cover. Always fun!

JL