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Thread: Cole Porter sings "You're The Top"

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    Default Cole Porter sings "You're The Top"

    There aren't too many recordings made by the great Cole Porter, but this one is quite good. The lyrics are quite witty, except "a melody from a symphony by Strauss" (unless he's referred to R. Strauss, there wasn't such a thing). Lots of these allusions won't be understood by many here, but they demonstrate Porter's urbanity and worldly sophistication:


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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Why wouldn't he refer to Richard Strauss?
    Last edited by Sloe; Jun-01-2018 at 06:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloe View Post
    Why wouldn't he refer to Richard Strauss?
    Because 'melody' is associated with Strauss of the waltz dynasty. Richard Strauss hardly wrote "melodies" in his "Alpine Symphony" et al. More likely themes. Porter studied music with his degree at Yale University and knew a great deal about music - not just melody and harmony. He would have known the music of all the Strauss composers but in the context of the song about cellophane, Jimmy Durante, Garbo's salary, the Louvre Museum and Waldorf Salad he's thrown in "you're the melody of a symphony by Strauss" inaccurately, IMO, since I'm certain he was actually referring to Johann Strauss Jnr. Richard Strauss did not write "melodious" symphonies.
    Last edited by Christabel; Jun-01-2018 at 06:49.

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    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Blimey if you're going to be really pedantic; 'Strauss' is not given a perfect rhyme, but overall it's divine (See what I did there?). Sondheim says that imperfect rhymes jar and break the flow. Perhaps that's what made you notice?

    You're the top! You're the Colosseum,
    You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum,
    You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss,
    You're a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet,
    You're Mickey Mouse.
    You're the Nile, You're the Tow'r of Pisa,
    You're the smile on the Mona Lisa.
    I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
    But if, Baby, I'm the bottom,
    You're the top!
    Last edited by Belowpar; Jun-01-2018 at 13:43.

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    Ira Gershwin used some equally dodgy rhymes but got the last one perfect in every way as he nailed his target.

    Away with the music of Broadway
    Be off with your Irving Berlin
    Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
    And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin
    How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
    It`s only for nightclubbin` souses
    Oh give me the free `n` easy waltz that is Vienneasy and
    Go tell the band If they want a hand
    The waltz must be Strauss`s
    Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah
    When I want a melody
    Lilting through the house
    Then I want a melody
    By Strauss
    It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
    Swinging to three-quarter time
    Let the Danube flow along
    And the Fledermaus
    Keep the wine and give me song
    By Strauss
    Last edited by Belowpar; Jun-01-2018 at 13:51.

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    Porter really set himself a challenge with this one.

    VERSE
    Ev'rybody
    Chic or shoddy,
    Ev'rybody loves to dance
    Since that big dance,
    Infra-dig dance
    Called the "can-can" captivated France.
    Why does it kill ev'ry care?
    Why is it done ev'rywhere?

    REFRAIN 1

    There is no trick to a can-can,
    It is so simple to do,
    When you once kick to a can-can,
    'Twill be so easy for you.
    If a lady in Iran can,
    If a shady African can,
    If a Jap with a slap of her fan can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.
    If an English Dapper Dan can,
    If an Irish Callahan can,
    If an Afghan in Afghanistan can (Or: If in Cannes ev'ry tan courtesan can)
    Baby, you can can-can too.

    If in Deauville ev'ry swell can
    It is so simple to do,
    If Debussy and Ravel can,
    'Twill be so easy for you.
    If the Louvre custodian can,
    If the Guard Republican can,
    If Van Gogh and Matisse and Cezanne can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.
    If a chief in the Sudan can,
    If the hefty Aga Khan can,
    If the camels in his caravan can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.

    REFRAlN 3

    Takes no art to do a can-can,
    It is so simple to do,
    When you start to do a can-can,
    'Twill be so easy for you.
    If a slow Mohammedan can,
    If a kilted Scottish clan can,
    If in Wagner a Valkyrian can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.
    If a lass in Michigan can,
    If an *** in Astrakhan can,
    If a bass in the Saskatchewan can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.

    REFRAIN 4

    If the waltz king Johann Strauss can,
    It is so simple to do,
    If his gals in Fledermaus can,
    'Twill be so easy for you.
    Lovely Duse in Milan can,
    Lucien Guitry and Rejane can,
    Sarah Bernhardt upon a divan can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.
    If a holy Hindu man can,
    If a gangly Anglican can,
    If in Lesbos, a pure Lesbian can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.

    REFRAIN 5

    If an ape gargantuan can,
    It is so simple to do,
    If a clumsy pelican can,
    'Twill be so easy for you.
    If a dachshund in Berlin can,
    If a tomcat in Pekin can,
    If a crowded sardine in a tin can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.
    If a rhino with a crash can,
    If a hippo with a splash can,
    If an elm and an oak and an ash can,
    Baby, you can can-can too.

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    Senior Member Cosmic Cowboy's Avatar
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    This is a really first-rate version - wonderfully acted whilst sung -


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic Cowboy View Post
    This is a really first-rate version - wonderfully acted whilst sung -
    Those woodwind doublers have some nice horns.

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    Can step out a bit too.


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    Senior Member Cosmic Cowboy's Avatar
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    Never was able to resist a really rousing first-rate big tap number. The finished product -



    Rather wish that Wagner had found a way to work in a really rousing first-rate big tap number or two or three into that Ring Cycle of his instead of all that rather tiresome and tedious recitative.

    Really rousing first-rate big tap numbers in the Ring Cycle would have probably required substantially reinforcing the stage floor though...
    Last edited by Cosmic Cowboy; Jun-11-2018 at 13:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic Cowboy View Post
    Never was able to resist a really rousing first-rate big tap number.

    Rather wish that Wagner had found a way to work in a really rousing first-rate big tap number or two or three into that Ring Cycle of his instead of all that rather tiresome and tedious recitative.

    Really rousing first-rate big tap numbers in the Ring Cycle would have probably required substantially reinforcing the stage floor though...

    Quite agree, don't know how I'm going to sit through all of The Ring again this September without tapping my feet. Perhaps I'll have to go and see 42nd St for the 5th time!

    (PS for anyone near london in the next six months do not miss out on this most spectacular of tap shows.)


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    Senior Member Cosmic Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post
    Quite agree, don't know how I'm going to sit through all of The Ring again this September without tapping my feet. Perhaps I'll have to go and see 42nd St for the 5th time!

    (PS for anyone near london in the next six months do not miss out on this most spectacular of tap shows.)

    Agreed!

    Was tricked once into attending a performance of "Gotterdammerung" at the Sydney Opera House (I was told we were going to see "My Fair Lady" - now there's a ripping good yarn!)and about a third into Brünnhilde's really rather tiresome immolation scene I said out loud - "Oh do get on with it" which resulted in a great many really hard stares and an elbow to the ribs which rather hurt really.

    I would cut that really rather tiresome immolation scene and replace it with Brünnhilde kicking off a really rousing first-rate big tap number (although taking the precaution of reinforcing the stage) like this one -

    Last edited by Cosmic Cowboy; Jun-12-2018 at 12:01.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post
    Blimey if you're going to be really pedantic; 'Strauss' is not given a perfect rhyme, but overall it's divine (See what I did there?). Sondheim says that imperfect rhymes jar and break the flow. Perhaps that's what made you notice?

    You're the top! You're the Colosseum,
    You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum,
    You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss,
    !
    Rhyming melody with symphony, then delaying rhyming Strauss with Mouse. That's so clever. Do rappers do things like that?

    Personally, I don't have a problem with saying Strauss' Alpensinfonie and Sinfonia Domestica have melodies. Google says a melody is "a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying." In other words, if it sticks in your head, that's enough.

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