Cole Porter: Artist Profile
He has created a collection of decade-defining classics that have touched artist and people beyond his time and place. His songs are what you hum when you think of his generation and his origins, even without knowing him. Ella Fitzgerald, Alanis Morissette, Michael Bubblé, Lena Horne, Elton John & Kiki Dee, and Oscar Peterson are only some of the very few names that have taken on this inspired musician’s catalogue. He has shone in spite of adversity, expressed himself in spite of needing to hide his true self, and excelled in spite of pain. He has shown the oppressed a perspective of how living can transcend survival. And while those who would have condemned him are wiped off of history, it is the melody of its genious that the best moments of his period are remembered.
Cole Porter in 10 songs
Porter was our Songwriter of the week on I Write The Songs 69. Many classics were aired on this show to complement the classic music of the composer.
The 10 choices below include songs played on the show. Like any legend, it is mostly or exclusively the covers that are presented, testimony of his impeccable legacy.
- Ella Fitzgerald, Night and Day (C. Porter,):
Fred Astaire first brought the song on stage in the 1932 musical Gay Divorce for which it was written. It later appears on The Gay Divorcee, the 1934 American musical film version of the Broadway musical (with a slightly most politically correct name). Frank Sinatra released its first recording and his first hit in 1954 although he also has 1943 and 1957 live versions. Porter himself did a recording of it in 1964. Some of the many other notable renditions include Diana Krall, Everything but the Girl, Tony Bennett, The Temptations, U2, Art Tatum, Chicago, Erroll Garner, Billie Holiday and Oscar Peterson. The latter is included in the “I Write The Songs” radio show dedicated to Porter. As for Ella Fitzgerald, this is not the only song she has covered of the legend. Witness is a whole album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book. The 1956 studio release is a collection of over 30 of the legend’s standard musical pieces accompanied by an orchestra.
- Frank Sinatra, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, C. Porter / Michael Bubblé, I’ve got you under my skin (Canada) (C Porter, 1936), 2005
A hit and signature song for Sinatra, it is famously included in all his concerts. He first sang it on his radio show (1946). A version is arranged by Nelson Riddle and performed with the arranger’s orchestra. A re-recording appears in his 1963 album and a live version on his 1966 album. The Sinatra’s 1993 Duets album also include a digitally put-together version with U2 lead singer Bono. However, the first performance of the song was in 1936: Virginia Bruce introduced it on the musical film Born to Dance. Other interpretations include the Four Seasons and a notable hip-hop version from Neneh Cherry in contribution to the AIDS benefit of the Red Hot + Blue organization. Of course, there is the version of canadian crooner Michael Bubblé in 2005 which features in the I Write the songs playlist.
- Essie Davis and Nathan Page, Let’s Misbehave (1927):
Plunged in the context of its era, the Ms Fisher Murder Mysteries series cover this song in the most appropriate way, with warranted simplicity and authenticity. And when you know the story of ambiant story and essence of Phryne and Jack as individuals and partners, the song takes the most fitting meaning. The cult Australian series streams on Netflix.
- Jamie Cullum, I get a kick out of you
Jamie Cullum’s instrumentation and arrangement gives Porter’s song a fun, faster-paced, Modern Jazz rendition. This arguably reflects the pace of a heartbeat in love and sadly contrast with the complete indifference from the object of this love/lust/interest.
- Alanis Morrissette, Let’s do it (Let’s Fall in love) 2005, Canada/US, 3.22 (C. Porter, 1928)
This song has been hailed as one of Porter’s best. French chanteuse Irène Bordoni first introduced it in Porter’s first Broadway success, the musical Paris (1928). It has since been covered by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, even Kim Basinger and now Alanis Morrissette.
- Lena Horne, I Love Paris (Cole Porter, 1953)
- Elton John & Kiki Dee, True Love (Cole Porter, 1956), 1993
- Ethel Waters, Miss Otis Regrets, 1934
Ethel Waters puts the emotion in the track and conveys beauty, grace and sadness all at once.
- Liliana Bizineche, C’est Magnifique – The fun yet controlled version of Peggy Lee, the suave and entertaining rendition by Ella Fitzgerald (1972), a take by Darío Moreno, Cole Porter himself and Frank Sinatra (1960), Dean Martin (1962), Patricia Barber (2008), Sergio Franchi (1968) testify to the popularity of the piece. This version sung by Liliana Bizineche (2004) as part of the concert “Broadway and Film Classics” gives it a new operatic breath.
- John Coltrane, Every time we say goodbye (C. Porter) Oscar Peterson (trio)
All Cole Porter Songs
- Ace in the Hole
- All of You
- All Through the Night
- Always True to You in My Fashion
- Anything Goes
- Begin the Beguine
- Blow, Gabriel, Blow
- Brush Up Your Shakespeare
- C’est Magnifique
- Do I Love You?
- Don’t Fence Me In (Robert Fletcher, co-lyricist)
- Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
- From This Moment On
- Get Out of Town
- I Am in Love
- I Concentrate on You
- I Get a Kick Out of You
- I Hate Men
- I Love Paris
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- In the Still of the Night
- It’s All Right with Me
- It’s De-Lovely
- Just One of Those Things
- Let’s Do It (, Let’s Fall in Love)
- Let’s Misbehave
- Love for Sale
- Miss Otis Regrets
- Night and Day
- Nobody’s Chasing Me
- Ridin’ High
- So in Love
- Tom’ Dick or Harry
- Too Darn Hot
- Why Can’t You Behave?
- What Is This Thing Called Love?
- You Do Something to Me
- You’d Be So Easy to Love
- You’re the Top