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Belle, the Sleeping Car, also known as Belle's Song, is Belle's introduction song. The character, and her solo, only appeared in the 1984 London production and the 1987 Broadway production.

Context

Rusty is downcast since he hasn't got a partner for the race. Pearl decided to race with Electra rather than him, and all the other coaches already have partners, so Poppa introduces him to Belle, the old Sleeping Car. Immediately following her song, Rusty did indeed race with Belle, only to be beaten by Electra and Pearl.

The 1987 Broadway production streamlined the race structure, and in doing so, removed the opportunity for Rusty to race in the heats. This meant that although introduced to Belle, she lacked opportunity to actively assist Rusty, instead she simply went back to sleep at the end of this number.

Although the song itself was cut when the character of Belle was removed, the musical motif remains, most notably sung by Rusty and Dustin immediately following the Starlight Sequence.

Parallels have been drawn between "Belle's Song" and the enormous hit "Memory" from Cats, written 3 years previously. There are similar themes of the old beauty, past her prime, regretting her lost youth and place in society. However, Belle's song is less tragic, she may be old fashioned but, in a very literal sense, she's not out of the race yet.


Lyrics

1984 London Lyrics

Belle L84 21
Looks and youth ain't everything
Experience is a quality that counts for a lot
The sad thing 'bout experience,
Is by the time you've got it
It's usually all you've got
I'm Belle, Belle, Belle the sleeping car
Doesn't matter who you are
Just climb aboard to lie with me
And when you wake I'll make you tea
A Pullman car when I was made
I went down for the seaside trade
I'm peeling now, the light's too bright
I wear dark glasses day and night
I had crystal lamps, Irish linen
To set off my red velvet dress
Those who rode on me compared me to
The Orient Express - that was excessive
But now they climb aboard, undress
Don't wait for me to whisper, 'yes'
Don't say goodnight, just hit the light
And worst of all turn over and go straight to sleep
Once I was a real main liner
Enjoying the occasional smoke
Now I hang around the fuel dump
Sniffing the coke, It really chokes me
I'm Belle, Belle, Belle the sleeping truck
I'm down at wheel down off my luck
I may not be first class but I'm not yet worst class
I can still warm you when the night is cold
I'm a sleeper with a heart of gold
I can still warm you when the night is cold
I'm a sleeper with a heart of gold

1987 Broadway Lyrics

US87 Belle 1
Looks and youth ain't everything
Experience is a quality that counts for a lot
The sad thing 'bout experience,
Is by the time you've got it
It's usually all you've got
I'm Memphis Belle, the sleeping car
Doesn't matter who you are
Pay your fare and climb aboard
I'll make you feel you're a lord
When I was young, I was the toast
Those who took me to the coast
Then one great day, when we dined with Kent,
I was bought by Mr ~Vandterbilt
I had crystal lamps, Irish linen
To set off my red velvet dress
Those who rode on me compared me to
The Orient Express - that was excessive...
But now I get the sort of guys
Who take their teeth out - then their eyes
Don't say goodnight, just hit the light
And wheeze and snore to Baltimore
Seen a lot of judges disrobing
And statesmen in states of undress
One day I shall sell my memoirs to
The popular press - or True Confessions
I'm Belle, Belle, Belle the sleeping car
Won't you catch me, falling star...
Pearl of a nation, way beneath my station
But I can still warm you when the night is cold
I'm a sleeper with a heart of gold

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