You're the top you're the Colosseum!
Without any doubt, Cole Porter (1891 – 1964) was one of the greatest song writers of our time. His songs are often described as witty and urbane and yet his lyrics were often bold, cheeky and emotional expressions of intense feeling. Cole Porter's gift with words, was united with wonderfully crafted, unforgettable and catchy melodies, which he also wrote himself.
Cole Porter was the only child of a shy, somewhat poetic father and a dominant mother, who had the will and intent to push her son forward toward accolades and success. Early on, Porter learnt the violin and the piano and he displayed a flamboyant ability to entertain and gather friends and admirers.
A good student, Cole Porter became class valedictorian and entered Yale University in 1909, studying English, music and French. The family pressure was on however, for him to study law, so after graduating from Yale, Porter enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1913. Luckily for us, he switched to the music program and soon began his musical career.
I Get a Kick out of You -This song is the epitome of suave devil-may-care sophistication and shows his membership to the fast set; who are used to wealth and 'planes' 'champagne' and 'cocaine'.
There is however, also an acknowledgement of unrequited love and a confessional note in the song, as well as a bafflement that all the worlds addictions and temptations have less hold, than the feelings of love.
Ella Fitzgerald: I Get A Kick Out Of You
Euphemism and Innuendo
Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love -
Fabulous, fun and clever, this song is brimful of name dropping, double-entendres and quizzical comparisons. Titillating and suggestive and meant to be sung in a nonchalant manner, we are taken on a tour of those who are 'doing it'.....falling in love that is....
'In shallow shoals English soles do it
Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love'
Billie Holiday & Lester Young - Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) (1941)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire -Featured in that gem of a film, 'High Society' (1956), Staring the matchless Grace Kelly, 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire', is one of a suite of songs by Cole Porter, in the film. The song is performed by Celeste Holm and Frank Sinatra, together as a duet, as they play a couple of nosy reporters from Spy Magazine, ogling expensive wedding gifts. This film was also the last film appearance before grace Kelly became royalty.
'Who wants a fancy foreign car? I don't Who wants to tire of caviar? Who wants a marble swimming pool too? I don't And I don't 'cause all I want is you'
Who wants to be a millionaire? - From 'High Society'
You're the Louvre museum
A very imaginative song, 'You're The Top' is deceptively sophisticated and contains about 40 metaphors. For example Porter uses the words 'You're the top...you're the Louvre museum' as a way of expressing that the person he is singing about, is super classy. He also plays around with European high brow images and pedestrian American everyday things, like tooth paste; juxtaposing them for effect. The rhyme and the energy and the cascading diverse images, make this a song of excitement and jocular fun. And not to mention, clever as hell!
'You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!
You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss' (cheeky thing! Strauss didn't write a symphony)
Louis Armstrong You're the Top
Miss Otis Regrets -Written in a blues style, this song tells the story of a high society woman, who kills her faithless seducer and is lynched by a mob. Miss Otis', polite 'regrets' are expressed as she faces the noose. The song however was the result of a challenge from friends, that Porter write a song about the next thing they heard in the restaurant. These words, happened to be a waiter telling another restaurant patron, 'Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today'.
'Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch.
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today.'