One of the most popular ballads in the musical is "Till There Was You." In fact, as you Beatles fans out there know well, even they covered the song. What absolutely stuns me, though, is that I just discovered that Meredith Willson didn't write the song for The Music Man!! Indeed he wrote it seven years earlier, and it was released as a popular song, although with a very slight change. And when I say "very slight," I mean just that. This isn't "Till There Was You" with somewhat different lyrics -- this is "Till There Was You" exactly, with just two words changed. The song was written in 1950 as "Till I Met You." That's it, that's the difference. Everything else with the song is exactly the same.
And by the way, I think that two-word change helps and actually makes a difference. "Till I Met You" is fine, but basically standard and straightforward. "Till There Was You" adds texture and makes this love song more ethereal. In fairness, maybe it's because I'm so used to the better-known title, and I'm sure some of it is that, but there is a difference, and I do think it takes the sentiment to another level. It's no longer about something as everyday normal and fortunate as encountering someone, but now about their very existence.
That aside, it's a wonderful song either way. And not just remarkable to discover that it was written seven years before Meredith Willson realized it was too perfect to use again in 1957 for The Music Man.
I should note one other possibility. Meredith Willson began writing the show years before it made its way to Broadway. In fact, he began in 1948. So, it's possible that this was one of the songs he wrote for the musical early on and thought it would made a good, standalone ballad. That strikes me as unlikely, songwriters aren't known for "giving away" their Broadway numbers ahead of time, but it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibilities. However I think it's more likely that this was just one of his songs, and he realized it fit too wonderfully. With just one word changed.
One last interesting note of whimsy. The singer on the recording is named Eileen Wilson. No relation to Meredith though. The last names are spelled differently.