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There are two sets of lyrics to "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe, and Charles Hart.

Specifically, the lyrics on the Original London Cast Recording don't match the lyrics on some compilation CDs I've heard. There may be other versions of the lyrics on other recordings as well (for instance, I believe I remember hearing some minor differences in a "selections from" Phantom CD).

Why is this? Have both versions been performed as part of the stage production? Since both Stilgoe and Hart are credited with writing lyrics for Phantom, who wrote which version?

  • The Wikipedia page mentions three versions of the song, but doesn't really explain what or why. I would be interested in reading about that, myself. – Donald.McLean Feb 15 '18 at 19:34
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The song actually started with a different title and completely different lyrics. When Lloyd-Webber began his relationship with Sarah Brightman he wrote a song for her titled “Married Man” with lyrics by Trevor Nunn. He later decided to rework it into Phantom. Phantom itself went through three lyricists. After his first choice turned him down...

Alan Jay Lerner was then recruited, but died soon after beginning the project, and none of his contributions remained in the show. Richard Stilgoe, who also wrote the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, then wrote lyrics for the production, as well as devising most of the titles for the songs. However, the composer felt that Stilgoe's lyrics were too witty and clever, rather than romantic. Charles Hart, a young and relatively unknown lyricist was invited to rewrite the lyrics, even contributing almost solely to an unplaced tune by Lloyd Webber, which later became "Think of Me". Some of Stilgoe's original contributions are still present in the final version. From Phantompedia

This shows Lloyd-Webber’s notorious perfectionism. He is certainly not averse to making revisions after a show is already in production. After his most recent show, the sequel to Phantom called “Love Never Dies” received poor reviews he decided to pull it off its West End production for several days to completely rework it.

As to the reasons why he made specific changes it would only be speculation. They may have been taken from earlier revisions of the show before Hart was brought in. He may have simply been unhappy with the lines and simply rewrote them. He may have been asked by a certain director or record producer to alter them. There’s really no way of knowing for sure.

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I believe that the reason behind there being different versions would be because one is more suitable for, say, a live performance while the other is more suitable for a CD or a vinyl. This happens a lot with music; there will be two different versions to the same song. However, one version could also be remastered, meaning it was changed specifically to be more "modern", if you will, in the lyrics.

Like I said, I'm 97% sure it's just because one version has a different purpose than the other. There could also be copyright reasons, but I highly doubt that's the case.

I hope this cleared the situation up and provided some more context to it.

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    Only a couple of the lines are different, and I don't really understand why they would be "more suitable" in either circumstance. – Kyle Strand Mar 30 '18 at 17:21
  • Those are the only things I can really think of when it comes to why songs are changed. Could you give examples as to what lines were changed? – user5716 Mar 30 '18 at 17:31
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I've bracketed all changed lyrics.

Night time sharpens heightens each sensation 
Darkness wakes and stirs imagination

(in that order, in the other version they are reversed)

Silently the senses abandon their defenses  

[Helpless to resist the notes I write
For I compose the music of the night] **OMITTED**

Slowly gently night unfurls its splendour
Grasp it sense it tremulous and tender

[Hearing is believing music is deceiving
Hard as lightning soft as candlelight
Dare you trust the music of the night]

(Turn your face away 
From the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from
Cold unfeeling light 
And listen to the music of the night)

Close your eyes [for your eyes
will only tell the truth
And truth isn't what you 
want to see In the dark
It's easy to pretend
That the truth is
what it ought to be]

(Close your eyes and surrender
to your darkest dreams 
Purge your thoughts 
of the life you knew before
Close your eyes 
Let your spirit start to soar
And you'll live as you've never lived before)

Softly deftly music shall caress you
Hear it feel it
Secretly possess you

Open up your mind
Let your fantasies unwind in this darkness 
Which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night

[Close your eyes] (Let your mind)
Start a journey to
A strange new world
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before

[Close your eyes and let music set you free]
(Let your soul take you where you long to be)

Only then can you belong to me

Floating falling 
Sweet intoxication
Touch me trust me 
Savour each sensation

Let the dream begin
Let your darker side give in

To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night

Only you can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the

Night
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  • This doesn't answer the question: why are there two sets of lyrics? – PiedPiper yesterday

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