An Audrey Hepburn fan website.

Audrey's voice restored in My Fair Lady songs

Posted: 4th April, 2010

Mark, an Audrey fan from NYC, has painstakingly restored Audrey's original vocals to Without You, Just You Wait, and I Could Have Danced All Night from the movie My Fair Lady.

You may recall that Audrey's vocals for a number of songs were dubbed by Marnie Nixon in the theatrical release and until now only a couple of songs featuring Audrey's original vocals, Wouldn't it be Loverly and Show Me, have been available to the general public as extras on the DVD release.

For Without You, Mark said on our forum, "I only had a piano/vocal track, so I added an orchestral backing. I also cut together two of Audrey's takes to get her best performance. Then, I made 37 cuts and speed alterations to the video to maintain sync. Finally, the orchestral track needed 18 speed alterations to match Audrey's tempos."

Without You

Just You Wait

I Could Have Danced All Night

36 Comments

  1. rating1. AudreyFan said...
    I love this!! She's great and her voice should have been used in all the film. There will never be anyone else like her but there will always be people trying to be. She's very much missed! Thanks so much for this. Is there a dvd with her original voice used in all the songs coming out?
  2. rating2. debbie said...
    Audrey was a class act, and her voice should have been used in the movie. It has never been fully explained why it was not. I know her own voice was used in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" when she sang "Moon River." If anyone can explain this I would appreciate it. Thanks
  3. rating3. John W said...
    She was the best. She should have gotten the Academy Award for best actress in My Fair Lady. Julie Andrews won it for Mary Poppins, but politics was involved. Julie was good, but Audrey was great!!!
  4. rating4. jonny said...
    i think audrey has a great voice.."i could have danced all night" was a struggle for her it sounds but "without you" and "just you wait" are ideal songs for her voice style.Would be fantastic if a re-edited version of the film was released.The dubbing of audrey are my only misgivings about the film.It felt so fake with Eliza talking cockney drawl then bursting into an operatic voice.Audiences these days want a true realistic perfomance i believe.
  5. rating5. Megan said...
    I love Audrey Hepburn. She was truly an amazing woman. My Fair Lady is my favourite film of hers and her voice should of been used in the original, it was just as good as the woman whose voice dubbed Audrey's. Audrey is my main inspiration in everything and I'm just feel so lucky that I have something in common with her, even if it is as small as a birthday!
  6. rating6. The Hard-Lover said...
    she's was amazing and beatiful lovely girl I saw her movies and read aout her life . . .


    LoVe U Miss Audrey ^_^
  7. rating7. Do Little said...
    Justice est faite ! Thank you so much to Mark !
    And so many thanks for this sharing site. "I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live."
  8. rating8. Cindy, Toronto, Canada said...
    Audrey Hepburn was a class act - there's never going to be anyone like her.

    Thank so much Mark for restoring her voice on these songs. In essence, the producers robbed her of the Best Actress Award for not allowing her to use all of her own voice in the musical numbers she did on this film. They totally missed the point that her own style of singing simply justified Eliza's background on the story of the movie.

    She truly was one beautiful woman, a generous human being and real role model for all women around the world. I missed her and the one consolation are the movies she made and books written about her.

    Audrey Hepburn defined fashion in the truest meaning of the word - SHE IS THE ICON of the fashion industry.
  9. rating9. Greg_M Audrey voice said...
    Thanks Mark - Audrey sounds wonderful. I hope someday her vocie can be restored as an option on Blu-ray. Audrey sounds fine but some more work would be needed to correct her weak spots (the recording technogolgy is out there to help)
    Keep up the good work (by the way I would love to get the piano vocals for "Without You" and "Just You Wait" - I have them for "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Wouldn't it be Loverly" and Audrey sounds even better on those
  10. rating10. AlexandrasAve said...
    There was one and only Audrey Hepbourn... R.I.P...
  11. rating11. Joe Giovanni said...
    There is only ONE Audrey . She is my all-time FAVORITE actress. No one can replace her
  12. rating12. AndrewG said...
    she deserved another Oscar!
  13. rating13. JennG84 said...
    Well....I own "My Fair Lady", and I just want to say that I agree. Her voice is so genuine sounding. It's not overly "curly-cued", and she has the most beautiful, peaceful faces. I would trust that woman with my life.....
  14. rating14. BillG said...
    Her voice should have been used? Are you kidding? It's excrutiating to listen to, especially I Could Have Danced all Night. A show-stopper reduced to a bad night in a karoake bar. Audrey Hepburn should have been grateful that George Cukor had her dubbed and thus be spared the embarrassment. We can then focus on her wonderful performance rather than the awful notes.
  15. rating15. Lee said...
    Wow!! This was awesome! I like many Audrey fans have only heard the 2 on the DVD extras. I agree her voice isn't that great but it would have made the movie that much more unique! I adore Audrey and I actually appreciate the rawness of her voice :)
  16. rating16. maria said...
    She was plenty of talent, beauty, charm and love. A real miracle of nature.
  17. rating17. Nancy said...
    OMG I am so happy to find this site. I love Audrey's voice and really disliked they dubbed her voiceover with Marnie Nixon. I just love Audrey. Beauty and Grace.
  18. rating18. Radolfo Florescu said...
    Unfortunately one cannot listen (nor see) this in Europe, due to "licence problems". Is there any solution for this seeeeerious problem???
    I know two songs with Audrey's original voice from the DVD though, and I must say her voice fits best the role of Eliza Dolittle!!!
  19. rating19. Mr. Glee said...
    In her characteristically disciplined fashion, Hepburn worked hard for months to master the songs, but was informed shortly before shooting that she would be dubbed--or should I say, "augmented" in the polite terminology of the day. She was heartbroken, partly because she would have been paid hundreds of thousands more if her own singing voice had been used. As it was, the disparity between her million dollar salary and Harrison's $200,000 was a sore point for "Sexy Rexy," so she certainly didn't go away empty-handed.

    She does fine on "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" and "Just You Wait." But consider: MFL gave the world some of the most famous show tunes in theatrical history. Jack Warner had invested a then unheard-of sum to buy the rights and personally produce the movie. The original Broadway soundtrack was one of the best-selling albums of all time, so the public had grown accustomed to hearing Julie Andrews' sonorous soprano on Eliza's numbers. The studio felt they couldn't risk a less than stellar vocal performance from Audrey in the film, especially after the unprecedented public and industry outrage directed at Warner for not casting Andrews.

    They might have let Audrey do more of the score, but for consistency's sake they couldn't keep switching back and forth between voices. So they had to go with Marni Nixon for the great majority of Eliza's vocals, with Audrey mostly doing only a few introductory phrases. For Audrey to have used her own voice would have been more logically consistent with the character, and it may indeed have cost Hepburn an Oscar nod that she didn't do her own singing.

    But, in addition to the demanding singing, there were complex dialogue challenges in a film about a Cockney learning to refine her speech, and her phonetic evolution had to be reflected in Eliza's songs as well. Hepburn's speaking voice was lovely and unique, partly because it was a mishmash of European influences (she was fluent in English, French, Dutch, Italian, and Flemish), but with that voice she wouldn't have fooled Zoltan Karpathy at the ball about her origins for one minute. In reality, if Eliza truly had sounded like Hepburn, Higgins would have failed dismally with her.

    But such is the magic of the movies that Hepburn makes us forget all that and BELIEVE in her as she faces her elegant trial in high society. To help her with the gradual transitions in her evolving speech, the film was shot more or less in sequence. Thus, add those dialectical challenges to the vocal challenges magnified by the audience's high expectations, and it would have been probably too much for just about any actress except perhaps Andrews herself, who admitted that even she never quite fully mastered Eliza on stage.

    So there were many factors that weighed in against Hepburn doing her own singing. Nevertheless, discovering this clip was a great joy for any fan of Hepburn's and the transcendent film version of MFL. It's especially poignant to hear these tracks in light of the fact that nearly all of the principals who made the film, both in front of and behind the camera, are gone.

    Plus the industry, in its wisdom, is now doing a remake, which sounds absolutely hideous. Emma Thompson, the screenwriter, made snarky remarks dismissing the original film and Hepburn. "Nanny McPhee" is sure she can do much better than Lerner and Lowe, who created probably the greatest musical of the Twentieth Century from an immortal George Bernard Shaw play. For one thing, we won't need all those songs, she states.

    Right.

    It's gonna be ghastly. Have mercy, "Professor Trelawney." Go back to Hogwarts and leave us the grace of Hepburn and Harrison, and a wondrous show that still sparkles after half a century.
  20. rating20. daphne b. said...
    Won derful to hear Audrey doing her own singing. Yes, her voice is a little weak on some of the high notes, but in the lower registers is great and so much more believabnle. Marnie's singing is lovely, but she could not capture Audrey's unique accent. Surely some of the songs, e.g. I could have danced all night, could have been rearranged in a slightly lower key for Audrey? Professional singers do it all the time.
  21. rating21. PTC333 said...
    Fascinating, but I Could Have Danced is just plain painful. She was glorious, but not a singer.
  22. rating22. Aisling said...
    I agree with the above. There could have been some rearranging of thesongs difficult for her and her lower register songs are wonderful. She was a person of grace and integrity as well as beauty inner and outer.
  23. rating23. Wendy said...
    I'm sorry but I think Audrey Hepburn's performance in My Fair Lady is simply a direct copy of Wendy Hillier's in Pgymalion. Watch Pgymalion and then watch My Fair Lady and you will see what I mean.
  24. rating24. Lyden said...
    She did deserve the Oscar but i think some of the songs needed to be dubbed after hearing this. Her voice is so cute but she is not skilled enough to carry some of these tunes. I would like to hear her sing these after the use of some pitch correction software, would be awesome!
  25. rating25. Waldemar said...
    Just like all of you, I love Audrey and I am a fan of hers. She was truly great in so many movies, such as ''Roman Holiday', 'Sabrina', 'Two for the Road', 'Wait Until Dark', 'Charade', 'Funny Face', 'The Nun's Story' and especially 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. However, her performance as Eliza in "My Fair Lady'' isn't one of her best. To begin with, she couldn't sing at all, and the videos just make it evident. While Audrey's speaking voice is lovely, her singing isn't. In fact, it turns out to be really embarrassing, especially ''I could have danced all night''. Director Cuckor had to have her dubbed, which, on the other hand, did great harm to the film anywayl, since Marni Nixon's voice had nothing to do with Audrey's. Secondly, she couldn't handle the role because Eliza demanded that she be a funny, poor flower girl in rags with a cockney accent - and unfortunately, she was totally out of her depth. How could the gorgeous, glamorous Audrey possibly convince audiences that she was a ''squashed leaf of cabbage'', in the words of Professor Higgins? Julie Andrews, however, was perfect in the role, from beginning to end, with her great stamina, beauty, perfect cockney, timing and a glorious voice - an amazing soprano . Audrey did better in the movie when Eliza became a lady, looking the way we love her, so pretty, elegant and charming. When she accepted the role, she took all the risks of a very difficult part that was the opposite of her persona and required the skill of soprano. She took the risks, did her best, but faced the music: no Oscar nomination, and that wasn't unfair. Practically perfect Julie rocked as 'Mary Poppins' and deserved to win the Oscar and indeed, she won all the major awards in 1964 - Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy and Bafta. 'Poppins' ironically topped 'Lady' at the boxoffice and became the biggest hit of the year. It remains a beloved classic family film that wins generations, unlike 'Lady', which is less popular However, she and Julie became close friends, and Julie married ''Tiffany's'' director and Audrey's friend, Blake Edwards. Now that was 'loverly'!
  26. rating26. Daniel said...
    Audrey did her best, but those here saying that her voice was every bit as good as Marni's (learn to spell her name correctly!) must be smoking something. Especially in "I Could Have Danced All Night," her high notes are painful to listen to. Poor Audrey would have been laughed off the screen if her singing had been left in it. For those asking why Julie Andrews wasn't chosen, Audrey at the time was a HUGE movie star while Julie had no film experience whatsoever. Audrey's name was used as a guarantee to attract audiences worldwide and it worked-My Fair Lady was a huge hit.

    I think those saying that Julie would have automatically been better than Hepburn in the film are being presumptuous and pretentious. Julie's singing and cockney accent were probably better, but stage and film acting are two different things. Julie might have played a good guttersnipe and sang her own songs, but no one could play the lady like Audrey.

    As for the singing, most old film musicals had dubbing at one point or another. It was just the way things were done at that time and it still happens on occasion today. You don't just dismiss someone's acting because their voice is dubbed!
  27. rating27. Gene Lee said...
    OMG... if you could do the whole soundtrack with Audrey's voice, I'd buy it in a sec. I have always felt that Nixon's voice didn't fit someone with Audrey's build or voice.

    I still have the short mpeg of Audrey singing Moon River from Breakfast At Tiffany's.
  28. rating28. linda moggio ***** said...
    Thank you so much, Mark. Audrey's voice should have been exclusively in the movie.
  29. rating29. Freeloader said...
    It's a shame they did not use her singing voice. I thought so when I watched the movie. During the "Wouldn't It be loverly" part, I knew that it wasn't her voice. She wan't the strong, singing type but I thought it would give more meaning to the film if they used her own voice. But then to my delight, they used her singing voice in the "Just You Wait" part which confused me a lot. Other than that, it was a good movie. Worthy of being a classic.
  30. rating30. Musicpost said...
    I love listening to Audrey sing these songs. She sounds real, in the film it always seems fake when the dubber comes in. I guess they could have dubbed a few of the high notes and left Audrey's voice in - maybe someday we will get a video of the film with Audrey's voice restored.
  31. rating31. No1fan said...
    I can remember going to see My Fair Lady when it first came out and I can't remember anything about the voice, I only remember this beautiful woman who you just wanted to watch and be like when you grew up. If only.
    Over the years I've learned what a beautiful person Audrey was and now I realise it was not just her aesthetic beauty you see there is an inner beauty that somehow makes it to the screen
    Now I would like to see it again but with Audrey singing - sometimes perfect voices are nice but soulless and a little imperfection makes you realise that it is a REAL person you are watching, especially when that person is someone special.
  32. rating32. alice said...
    thx for uploading this, i'm a big fan of Audrey Hepburn's my fair lady, and have tried for so long to find her original vocal for the film, now after hearing this, i must say I agree film company's decision of her singing dubbed by marni nixon to sing most of the songs in the film; however it's a shame that Audrey didn't get nomination for best actress in the oscar only because she did not sing all the songs by herself , she did an excellent job of acting Eliza and was doing way better than Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins
  33. rating33. Marlene said...
    Audrey Hepburn has always been my favorite actress of all time, and I have always wanted to hear the move with Audrey's voice for authenticity. The songs for Audrey could have easily been recorded in her range and it would have been marvelous. My Fair Lady is my favorite of all of her movies, but I hated that the songs were obviously dubbed in part or in whole. The fact that Julie Andrews played the part and sang on Broadway was no reason to snub Audrey for doing a fantastic job for the part she was offered. I didn't care for Wendy Hiller in the role, but I have always loved Audrey as Eliza Doolittle. Thank you so very much for uploading this; I'd buy this on DVD it with all of its imperfections!
  34. rating34. Jim M. said...
    Audrey Hepburn's singing voice sounds quite acceptable on "Just You Wait" and, certainly, in the Cockney-inflected part of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." But Hepburn's singing is much too thin for "Without You," and especially inappropriate (some might say embarrassing) for the soaring notes required in "I Could Have Danced All Night."

    Miss Hepburn was certainly a lovely presence on screen and her acting superb in the role of "Eliza Doolittle." It is a shame Hepburn could not have had more time to work with a vocal coach before production began on the film, to have had a better shot at getting the singing parts down pat. But, given the production schedule that evolved, I agree with the decision of Warner Brothers to use Marni Nixon's beautiful soprano for the majority of the singing parts of "Eliza Doolittle."

    An ideal situation, could the film's shooting have waited, would have been for Hepburn to take singing lessons for several months, then been cast in a Broadway revival, or perhaps at least a short run in the London production (which ran until 1963), to really develop her musical chops for the screen role.

    Yes, it is too bad Julie Andrews could not have been cast in the film version of "My Fair Lady." to reprise her original Broadway role as "Eliza Doolittle." But Andrews was richly rewarded at the same Academy Awards ceremony that included "My Fair Lady," with a Best Actress win for Disney's "Mary Poppins," and a year later with a Oscar nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe win for her outstanding performance as "Maria Von Trapp" in 20th Century Fox's "The Sound of Music."

    Some may have felt a greater injustice done there, as Mary Martin not only originated the role of "Maria" on Broadway, but was the one who persuaded Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II to adapt the Von Trapp family story into a musical in the first place. But that was not the first time Martin was not cast in a role she originated on Broadway, when a film version of the stage musical was eventually produced. Martin also lost out to Mitzi Gaynor for the Fox film adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific."

    And Ethel Merman was, outrageously, not cast in the film versions of either "Annie Get Your Gun" or "Gypsy," losing her originating Broadway roles to Judy Garland (who was, summarily, fired due to health issues, replaced by Betty Hutton) and Rosalind Russell, respectively, in those films.
  35. rating35. Kana said...
    But they forgot about parts of "The rain in Spain", which also have Nixon's vocals. Why that song was not restored with Audrey's voice?

    I heard all of other songs from the movie and I think that Mrs. Hepburn did a great work, having no experience in musical singing. And "I could have danced all night" she sang in a lovely way, even if she had troubles with high notes.

    I am a great fan of the movie (Audrey's even greater) but when I watched it for the first time not knowing it was partially dubbed I thought that soprano I'm hearing is just wrong: too high and over-melodic, Eliza should never sing her songs that way. Then I started to look for Audrey's performance of those songs and I really think they suit better in the movie. They shoud put on the market a version with Audrey's own voice in songs, I would be the first to buy it.

    Anyone know is there "A rain in Spain" sang only by Mrs. Hepburn somewhere? I've looked, but could not find it...
  36. rating36. Mark said...
    Hi,

    I'm the guy who did these restorations - thanks for all the kind words!

    I agree that Audrey was not up to the task of singing these songs in their original keys. But had they lowered them to her range, she could have handled some of them - certainly "Loverly" and "Without You".

    We must also remember that these are raw rehearsal recordings, and that edited and polished studio tracks would have sounded better.

    These are all the tracks I have, so that's why "The Rain in Spain" was not also done.

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