Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I adore “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” so of course you’ll find the companion songbook to the classic 1971 movie upon my shelves. This slim volume covers the basics: “The Candy Man,” “Cheer Up, Charlie,” “I Want It Now,” “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” “Oompa-Loompa-Doopadee-Doo,” and “Pure Imagination.”

However, I sure wish that this collection’s arrangement of “Pure Imagination” hewed truer to the version that Gene Wilder sings in the film as he welcomes his guests to the Chocolate Room. If the snozzberries on the wallpaper can taste like real-life snozzberries, why shouldn’t I be able to open up the “Willy Wonka” songbook and let the magic of the song unfold at my piano the way it does in the movie, with those gentle, almost clockwork notes chiming as audience and visitors alike step through a ridiculously tiny door and begin to behold the audacious, colorful scene where a river of chocolate flows, where daffodils are actually edible golden teacups, and where more than a few “realities become dreams.”

To conjure up those twinkling opening moments of “Pure Imagination,” you can instead purchase this nearly true-to-recording arrangement by HDPiano. You’ll have to provide your own “Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three,” introduction. Bonus points if you recreate Willy Wonka’s musical lock beforehand by playing a few bars from the opening of “The Marriage of Figaro” — which is by Mozart, of course, no matter how often Mike TeeVee’s mom sniffs and declares it Rachmaninoff.

It is, frankly, scrumdiddlyumptious to play the Oompa-Loompas’ withering takedown theme. The satisfaction of those staccato scolds! In our house, “Oompa-Loompa-Doopadee-Doo” might be the most-played song from this collection.

“a lot of delicious Oompa-Loompas”

Did you know? The Oompa-Loompas are apparently “delicious.” Or so claims this quote on the cover of the songbook. (I will take the publisher’s word for it.)

Am I dreaming? I don’t think Augustus Gloop made the cut for the songbook’s cover art collage, which is based on the original movie poster. Poor old Augustus Gloop! Perhaps the poster’s designer knew better than to stir up any trauma that a child of the Seventies would be carrying after enduring those suspenseful minutes when the hapless, overenthusiastic Gloop fell into the chocolate river and got sucked into that pipe. (Shudder!)

Even the mysterious Mr. Slugworth gets a chance to lean into the scene on the cover. And look at that plump blueberry floating up into the sky like an air balloon! It’s Violet Beauregarde, temporarily transfigured by a stolen stick of gum.

It was a good deed on the part of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, composing these tunes for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” To invoke the words of the Candy Man himself, Bricusse and Newley concocted a score that’s ninety-three percent mischief, six percent magic, four percent sassafrass, and two percent butter ripple. The songs are key ingredients for a movie whose sense of wonder and good fun is as everlasting as any gobstopper.

“So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

Willy Wonka
(invoking a quote from “The Merchant of Venice,”
by that other candy man, Willy Shakespeare)
Where to find it:
“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
Lyrics and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley

SONGBOOK: "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" piano/vocal/guitar songbook available for purchase on Amazon, on Hal Leonard, and at AbeBooks. Or find individual Willy Wonka songs for purchase as digital downloads at MusicNotes.com.
Publisher: Hal Leonard (2001)
ISBN: 0634031538 (paperback)
Status (2020): In Print
Where to find it: HDPiano’s piano solo arrangement of “Pure Imagination” available for purchase as a digital download on Musicnotes.com.

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