|3. Everything / Arts and Entertainment / Music / Musical Works|
'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' - the Monty Python song
'Always Look On the Bright Side of Life' is a song written by Eric Idle, the third-tallest member of the British comedy troupe Monty Python. Though Eric Idle is credited as the sole writer of the song, the catchy and distinctive whistled hook is in fact a contribution by Neil Innes, a Python collaborator.
The song was originally featured in the 1979 Python film The Life of Brian. At first, the Pythons weren't sure how to end the film, but while filming in Tunisia, Eric Idle came up with the song. Fellow Python Terry Jones initially wasn't keen on the idea, but they tried it out anyway and decided to use it after all.
The song takes place at the very end of the film when Brian, played by Graham Chapman, is being crucified for involvement in a kidnap plot. A character on a nearby cross, Mr Frisbee III, played by Eric Idle, attempts to cheer up Brian by singing this song, a manifestation of the British custom of keeping a 'stiff upper lip' during a crisis.
Soon, the other people being crucified join in singing and whistling. The film then fades to the music. During this, Mr Frisbee is saying things like 'cheer up, guys' and 'worse things happen at sea, you know' and 'what have you got to lose? Nothing!' An instrumental version of the song is then played later on during the end credits.
A Show Tune
With lyrics likening life to a theatre performance, the song alludes to the Shakespearian expression, 'all the world's a stage'.
Therefore, in 2005, it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise when 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' became a Broadway 'showtune'. The song is featured twice in Eric Idle's hit Broadway musical Monty Python's Spamalot, based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is sung at the beginning of Act II by Patsy, King Arthur and the ensemble while lost in A Dark and Very Expensive Forest. The musical number involves some rather good tap-dancing and an imitation of the famous scene in Singin' in the Rain. Then at the very end of the show, there is an audience singalong to 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.
On 22 March, 2006, 1,789 people with coconut halves banged along to 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' outside Shubert Theatre in New York City, where Spamalot is currently housed. The 'World's Largest Coconut Orchestra' made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Rather Interesting Facts
Alright, that's enough. Better cut to something depressing, like the news.
People have been talking about this Guide Entry. Here are the most recent Conversations:
Please note that the BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites listed.
Most of the content on this site is created by h2g2's Researchers, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here to alert our Moderation Team. For any other comments, please start a Conversation below.