Our selection of the greatest songs and lyrics from the remarkable Cole Porter. 22 superb tracks, the great stars of this generation salute Cole Porter – performing his best loved numbers in superlative style. The Words & Music of Cole Porter also includes two tracks sung by the man himself.
“An eclectic choosing from the remarkably rich back catalogue of one of the truly great wordsmiths of the last century.” Peter Chambers
Not all successful popular composers begin by starving in a draughty upper room. Cole Porter was born into a rich family in Peru, Indiana on 9th June 1891, and had the benefit of a mother who appreciated him and nurtured his musical talents. His time at Yale gave him ample opportunity to contribute to the university glee club and other musical entertainments. But it was Broadway that attracted the youngster, and he was writing songs and shows from his teen years onwards. He first started to attract real attention with his contributions to the revue ‘See America First’ in 1916. A spell in the army during the First World War increased his cosmopolitan tastes (he would always feel at home in Europe and held legendary parties in Venetian palaces during the 1930s).
The 1920s found the young composer establishing his name and reputation on Broadway with ‘The Greenwich Village Follies of 1924’. In 1927 the ‘Revue des Ambassadeurs’ offered Irving Aaronson and his Commanders among its stars, who created Let’s Misbehave – and it is their recording that is the earliest Porter hit we offer here. Irene Bordoni, the ravishing French diseuse, opened the same year in the show ‘Paris’ in which she introduced Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love. Our version is by jazz’s finest stylist, Billie Holiday. The lavish Charles B. Cochran London revue of 1929, ‘Wake Up And Dream’ starred Jessie Matthews, but it was Elsie Carlisle who introduced What Is This Thing Called Love? and Tilly Losch who danced to it. Here is the legendary version by swing clarinet supremo Artie Shaw. Germany’s greatest international musical export, Marlene Dietrich breathed her inimitable way through a hit number from ‘Fifty Million Frenchmen’ – You Do Something To Me – and indeed she does For the 1930 show ‘The New Yorkers’ but subsequently eliminated from the score was the classic Just One Of Those Things, heard here in the definitive version by Sam Browne and the Ambrose Orchestra.