Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Even Educated Fleas Love Him! Happy Birthday, Cole!

June 9 is a red letter day for American music - it's the birthday of composer-lyricist Cole Porter! I'm a big fan of the Great American Songbook and Cole Porter is one of my favorite composers. His lyrics are so clever, and as my husband likes to joke - his slaw's not bad, either!

Here's a snippet from one of his many hits: 'Every Time We Say Goodbye'

When you're near
There's such an air
of Spring about it
I can hear a lark somewhere
Begin to sing about it
There's no love song finer
But how strange the change
From major to minor
Every time we say goodbye

Of course, reading the lyrics doesn't really show the brilliance of the song, but Rod Stewart does a nice version on his 'The Great American Songbook' album. The Ella Fitzgerald songbook series also features several of Porter's greats, including 'Easy to Love'. And any singer who performs standards includes one or more of Porter's works - and then, we can't forget 'Kiss Me, Kate' the highly entertaining musical based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew - the point of all this being, you don't have to look far or listen long to hear a little Cole Porter.

And when you're in New York, you can enjoy Cole Porter in a more intimate manner by having a drink within reach of his piano; the Steinway permanently resides in the lobby of the Waldorf=Astoria.* You can gaze at the piano while thinking of the intricate rhymes in 'You're the Top' - after all, who else could smoothly combine references to all these in one song: Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon Brandy, Louvre Museum, Colosseum, Waldorf salad, Berlin ballad, Mae West's shoulder . . .

And here's the perfect birthday cake to go with the piano - it's from Jean Marie's Pattisserie in Great Neck, NY. I haven't visited Jean Marie's, or Great Neck for that matter, but a friend tells me their Napoleons are heavenly, so I'm sure the piano cake is quite yummy! Mr. Porter would probably compose a quick ditty about it!

Finally, if you're in the mood for a little YouTube, check out this wonderful rendition of 'You're the Top' as sung by Diana Rigg.

Or this original recording of Cole Porter himself from 1934:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Porter, and thanks for the songs!

*not a typo, the - has been replaced with the = , perhaps to stop people saying, "meet me at the hyphen"!


  1. Oh, what a treat - Cole Porter and the cake!

  2. thanks for stopping by our blog!!! love your post today...really enjoyed diana rigg in her day. that deer footprint looked like a moose was so big!!! glad to find you.


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