Loving Sondheim is not a choice. It's who we are. And no matter what age he was turning on March 22, we could easily fill up a list of his best songs to match the number. But the musical maestro is turning 85, so we created our own very-opinionated list of the 85 greatest tunes that have come out of his brilliant mind (songs with collaborators were left off—sorry "Tonight" and "Rose's Turn"!). What a tough task, but we focused on the songs that wow us with their lyrical genius, push the boundaries of the musical theater form or just make us want to curl up in a ball and cry. Here's to many more birthdays and stunning scores, Steve!
85. "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods
Careful the spell you cast. / Not just on children. / Sometimes the spell may last / Past what you can see / And turn against you.
84. "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" from Follies
Lucy wants to be dressy. / Jessie wants to be juicy. / Lucy wants to be Jessie. / And Jessie, Lucy.
83. "It Takes Two" from Into the Woods
We've got three. / We need one. / It takes two.
82. "Happiness" from Passion
I didn't know what love was / But now I do. / It's what I feel with you. / The happiness I feel with you.
81. "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened" from Road Show
Who knew? / Who dreamed? / Beats me.
80. "It's Hot Up Here" from Sunday in the Park with George
The outward show / Of bliss up here / Is disappearing dot by dot. / And it's hot!
79. "Someone in a Tree" from Pacific Overtures
Only cups of tea. / And history. / And someone in a tree.
78. "The Little Things You Do Together" from Company
It's the people that you hate together. / Bait together. / Date together. / That make marriage a joy.
77. "Putting It Together" from Sunday in the Park with George
Every time I start to feel defensive / I remember lasers are expensive.
76. "More" from Dick Tracy
And if you like two / You might as well have four. / And if you like four / Why not a few? / Why not a slew? / More!
75. "Agony" from Into the Woods
Always ten steps behind. / Always ten feet below. / And she's just out of reach.
74. "Sunday in the Park with George" from Sunday in the Park with George
But most of all / I love your painting. / I think I'm fainting.
73. "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" from Follies
The things that I want / I don't seem to get. / The things that I get... / You know what I mean!
72. "I Wish I Could Forget You" from Passion
And though I cannot love you / I wish that I could love you.
71. "Unworthy of Your Love" from Assassins
You would be queen to me, not wife. / I would crawl belly deep through hell.
70. "Liaisons" from A Little Night Music
Liaisons today. / Disgraceful! / What's become of them? / Some of them / Hardly pay their shoddy way.
69. "Last Midnight" from Into the Woods
I'm not good. / I'm not nice. / I'm just right. / I'm the Witch. / You're the world.
68. "The Glamorous Life" from A Little Night Music
Ordinary mothers needn't meet committees. / But ordinary mothers don't get keys to cities.
67. "Kiss Me!" from Sweeney Todd
Kiss me! / Of course! / Quickly!
66. "I Never Do Anything Twice" from The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
Once is delicious. / But twice would be vicious. / Or just repetitious.
65. "Barcelona" from Company
Where you going? / Barcelona! / So you said. / And Madrid. / Bon voyage. / On a Boeing.
64. "Pretty Lady" from Pacific Overtures
Pretty lady with a flower. / Give a lonely sailor half an hour.
63. "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy
When I get a yen / Then baby, Amen. / I'm counting to ten. / And then...
62. "Beautiful" from Sunday in the Park with George
All trees, all towers, beautiful. / That tower, beautiful mother. / See? / A perfect tree.
61. "I Remember" from Evening Primrose
I remember sky. / It was blue as ink. / Or at least I think.
60. "Children and Art" from Sunday in the Park with George
The child is so sweet. / And the girls are so rapturous. / Isn't it lovely how artists can capture us?
59. "Another National Anthem" from Assassins
For those who never win. / For the suckers. / For the pikers. / For the ones who might have been.
58. "Every Day a Little Death" from A Little Night Music
Every day a little sting. / Every day a little dies. / In the heart and in the head. / In the looks and in the lies.
57. "Our Time" from Merrily We Roll Along
Long ago / All we had was that funny feeling. / Saying someday we'd send 'em reeling / Now it looks like we can.
56. "Marry Me a Little" from Company
Oh, how softly we'll tread. / All the stings, the ugly things / We'll keep unsaid.
55. "There Won't Be Trumpets" from Anyone Can Whistle
There won't be trumpets / But sure as shooting / You'll know him when you see him!
54. "My Friends" from Sweeney Todd
Till now your shine / Was merely silver. / Friends, you shall drip rubies. / You'll soon drip precoius rubies...
53. "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" from Company
So single and attentive and attractive a man / Is everything a person could wish. / But turning off a person is the act of a man / Who likes to pull the hooks out of fish.
52. "On the Steps of the Palace" from Into the Woods
Better stop and take stock / While you're standing here stuck / On the steps of the palace!
51. "Old Friends" from Merrily We Roll Along
Old friends do / Tend to become old habit. / Never knew / How much I missed you till now.
50. "The Worst Pies in London" from Sweeney Todd
The worst pies in London. / Even that's polite! / The worst pies in London. / If you doubt it, take a bite!
49. "Now/Later/Soon" from A Little Night Music
Removing her clothing / Would take me all day. / And her subsequent loathing / Would turn me away. / Which eliminates B. / And which leaves us with A.
48. "Comedy Tonight" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Frenzy and frolic. / Strictly symbolic. / Something for everyone. / A comedy tonight!
47. "Merrily We Roll Along" from Merrily We Roll Along
Making you feel merrily, merrily. / What can go wrong? / Rolling along.
46. "Waiting for the Girls Upstairs" from Follies
Life was fun but oh, so intense. / Everything was possible and nothing made sense. / Back there when one of the major events / Was waiting for the girls...
45. "No One is Alone" from Into the Woods
Witches can be right. / Giants can be good. / You decide what's right. / You decide what's good.
44. "With So Little To Be Sure Of" from Anyone Can Whistle
Crazy business this / This life we live in. / Can't complain about / The time we're given. / With so little to be sure of / In this world.
43. "Pretty Women" from Sweeney Todd
Blowing out their candles / Or combing out their hair. / Even when they leave / They still are there. / They're there.
42. "What Can You Lose" from Dick Tracy
Once the words are spoken / Something may be broken. / Still, you love her. / What can you lose?
41. "Everybody Says Don't" from Anyone Can Whistle
Sometimes you have to start small. / Climbing the tiniest wall. / Maybe you're going to fall / But it's better than not starting at all.
40. "No More" from Into the Woods
Have to take care. / Unless there's a "where" / You'll only be wandering blind. / Just more questions. / Different kind.
39. "Epiphany" from Sweeney Todd
Don't we all deserve to die? / Even you, Mrs. Lovett. / Even I. / Because the lives of the wicked / Should be made brief. / For the rest of us / Death will be a relief.
38. "Good Thing Going" from Merrily We Roll Along
It could have kept on growing / Instead of just kept on. / We had a good thing going. / Going. / Gone.
37. "Color and Light" from Sunday in the Park with George
Dot Dot waiting to go. / Out out out. / No no no George. / Finish the hat. / Finish the hat. / Have to finish the hat first.
36. "Broadway Baby" from Follies
A spark. / To pierce the dark. / From Battery Park / To Washington Heights.
35. "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd
Demons'll charm you / With a smile. / For a while. / But in time / Nothing can harm you. / Not while I'm around.
34. "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music
It's a very short road / From the pinch and the punch / To the paunch and the pouch / And the pension.
33. "Sorry/Grateful" from Company
You don't live for her. / You do live with her. / You're scared she's starting / To drift away. / And scared she'll stay.
32. "Giants in the Sky" from Into the Woods
And she gives you food. / And she gives you rest. / And she draws you close / To her giant breast. / And you know things now / That you never knew before.
31. "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" from Sweeney Todd
Sweeney pondered / And Sweeney planned. / Like a perfect machine / He planned. / Sweeney was smooth. / Sweeney was subtle. / Sweeney would blink / And rats would scuttle.
30. "Franklin Shepard Inc." from Merrily We Roll Along
Very sneaky how it happens. / Much more sneaky than you think. / Start with nothing but a song to sing / Next you're Franklin Shepard.
29. "Johanna" from Sweeney Todd
I'll steal you, Johanna. / I'll steal you. / Do they think that walls could hide you? / Even now, I'm at your window.
28. "I'm Still Here" from Follies
First you're another slow-eyed vamp. / Then someone's mother. / Then you're camp.
27. "Getting Married Today" from Company
I telephoned my analyst about it / And he said to see him Monday / But by Monday I'll be floating / In the Hudson with the other garbage.
26. "Gun Song" from Assassins
Why should you be blue / When you've your little finger? / Prove how just a little finger / Can change the world.
25. "Your Fault" from Into the Woods
It's your father's fault / That the curse got placed / And the place got cursed / In the first place!
24. "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music
Isn't it rich? / Isn't it queer? / Losing my timing this late / In my career.
23. "Not a Day Goes By" from Merrily We Roll Along
So there's hell to pay. / And until I die / I'll die day after day. / After day / After day / After day / After day / After day...
22. "Could I Leave You?" from Follies
Putting thoughts of you aside / In the south of France. / Would I think of suicide? / Darling, shall we dance?
21. "We Do Not Belong Together" from Sunday in the Park with George
Tell me that you're hurt. / Tell me you're relieved. / Tell me that you're bored. / Anything. / But don't assume I know.
20. "Like It Was" from Merrily We Roll Along
That's what everyone does. / Blames the way it is / On the way it was. / On the way it never ever was.
19. "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George
Stop worrying if your vision is new. / Let others make that decision. / They usually do. / You keep moving on.
18. "Company" from Company
"With love." / "With love" filling the days. / "With love" seventy ways. / "To Bobby with love" / From all those / Good and crazy people, your friends!
17. "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park with George
Sunday. / By the blue, purple, yellow, red water. / On the green, purple, yellow, red grass. / Let us pass / Through our perfect park.
16. "Too Many Mornings" from Follies
Sally standing at the door. / Sally moving to the bed. / Sally resting in my arms. / With her head against my head.
15. "The Ladies Who Lunch" from Company
Look into their eyes / And you'll see what they know. / Everybody dies!
14. "Take Me to the World" from Evening Primrose
Take me to the world that's real. / Show me how it's done. / Teach me how to laugh, to feel. / Move me to the sun.
13. "Anyone Can Whistle" from Anyone Can Whistle
It's all so simple. / Relax, let go, let fly. / So someone tell me / Why can't I?
12. "A Weekend in the Country" from A Little Night Music
What a horrible plot! / A weekend in the country. / I'm excited! / No, you're not.
11. "Loving You" from Passion
Loving you is not a choice. / It's who I am.
10. "Losing My Mind" from Follies
You said you loved me. / Or were you just being kind? / Or am I losing my mind?
9. "Opening Doors" from Merrily We Roll Along
We're being evicted. / I'm having a breakdown. / We'll all get together on Sunday!
8. "Moments in the Woods" from Into the Woods
Just remembering you had an "and" / When you're back to "or" / Makes the "or" mean more / Than it did before.
7. "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd
Haven't you got poet / Or something like that? / No, y'see the trouble with poet / Is 'ow do you know it's deceased? / Try the priest.
6. "In Buddy's Eyes" from Follies
I'm still the princess. / Still the prize. / In Buddy's eyes.
5. "Another Hundred People" from Company
A city of strangers. / Some come to stare. / Some to stay.
4. "Now You Know" from Merrily We Roll Along
You should burn them every now and then / Or you'll never grow.
3. "The Ballad of Booth" from Assassins
Leave it to history to tell. / What I did, I did well. / And I did it for my country.
2. "Being Alive" from Company
Somebody sit in my chair. / And ruin my sleep. / And make me aware / Of being alive.
1. "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George
How the kind of woman / Willing to wait's / Not the kind that / You want to find waiting. / To return you to the light. / Dizzy from the height. / Coming from the hat.
What do you think are Sondheim's best songs?! Sound off in the comments below—or make your own list!