At one time, Anthony Newley was a huge star. Before he was 35 years old, he acted in, directed, and wrote the words* and music to two smash Broadway musical plays, Stop the World—I Want to Get Off!, and The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. Many of the songs from those two musicals became standards: “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Who Can I Turn To?” were covered by hundreds of singers. Newley used to enjoy saying that if he had never done anything else in his life, he could make a good living from the residuals of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” alone.
When he left the stage, he became a kind of parody of himself, as he played the Las Vegas venues, a glorified lounge singer. He never matched the heights of his earlier years, and the memory of his success has faded over the years. But as you can see in the clip above from the Ed Sullivan show, Newley in his prime was one of the most distinctive, eccentric, talented, and influential artists of the 1960s. Click on the video to see a quintessential Newley performance.
Thanks to YouTuber gmulvein
*Reader Sandra Nordgren wrote in to correct us that it was Leslie Bricusse who wrote the words to the songs. Thanks, Sandra.
Bowie was watching
I see what you mean, David. Good catch!