Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook

It used to be pretty commonplace for singers to record someone’s songbook-back in the day people like the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Johnny Mercer had a certain style and were at least as well known as the performers singing the songs.

There are still Songbook albums being made, the likes of Rod Steward and Bettye LaVette are keeping the tradition going.   But I tend to like the older songbooks myself.

One of my all time favorite songbooks is The Cole Porter Songbook sung by Ella Fitzgerald.  Songs like Anything Goes, Love for Sale, Always True To You In My Way, and Why Can’t You Behave? makes me think of Tiger Woods for some reason.

These are, for the most part, feel good songs as well.  Don’t Fence Me In and Your The Top are fun to listen to and fun to sing along with.  I always see Hawkeye Peirce singing Your The Top.  There is also the amazing quality of the lyrics in these songs.  My favorite musical group of all time is The Beatles-most famous for making Yeah, Yeah, Yeah carry a tune.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that-it’s just not in the same ballpark as De-Lovely.  There is a Beatles songbook as well, but I really like the way the Beatles did most of their own stuff.

Cole Porter’s lyrics are filled with events of the day, and he did tend to carry on a bit-most people don’t sing all the lyrics of Your The Top, for example.  That’s ok, a little Cole Porter is still better than a lot of other song writers.  Ella Fitzgerald is a perfect fit for Cole Porter and listening to this collection is a great way to while away a few hours.  Or to be used as background music while doing the mundane acts of spring cleaning.

Your The Top

At words poetic, I’m so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting ’em off my chest,
To let ’em rest unexpressed,
I hate parading my serenading
As I’ll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty
At least it’ll tell you
How great you are.

You’re the top!
You’re the Coliseum.
You’re the top!
You’re the Louver Museum.
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You’re a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare’s sonnet,
You’re Mickey Mouse.
You’re the Nile,
You’re the Tower 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!

Your words poetic are not pathetic.
On the other hand, babe, you shine,
And I can feel after every line
A thrill divine
Down my spine.
Now gifted humans like Vincent Youmans
Might think that your song is bad,
But I got a notion
I’ll second the motion
And this is what I’m going to add;

You’re the top!
You’re Mahatma Gandhi.

You’re the top!
You’re Napoleon Brandy.
You’re the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You’re the National Gallery
You’re Garbo’s salary,
You’re cellophane.
You’re sublime,
You’re turkey dinner,
You’re the time, the time of a Derby winner
I’m a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

You’re the top!
You’re an arrow collar
You’re the top!
You’re a Coolidge dollar,
You’re the nimble tread
Of the feet of Fred Astaire,
You’re an O’Neill drama,

You’re Whistler’s mama!

You’re camembert.

You’re a rose,
You’re Inferno’s Dante,

You’re the nose
On the great Durante.
I’m just in a way,
As the French would say, “de trop”.
But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

You’re the top!
You’re a dance in Bali.
You’re the top!
You’re a hot tamale.
You’re an angel, you,
Simply too, too, too diveen,
You’re a Boticcelli,
You’re Keats,
You’re Shelly!

You’re Ovaltine!
You’re a boom,
You’re the dam at Boulder,
You’re the moon,
Over Mae West’s shoulder,
I’m the nominee of the G.O.P.


But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

You’re the top!
You’re a Waldorf salad.
You’re the top!
You’re a Berlin ballad.
You’re the boats that glide
On the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You’re an old Dutch master,

You’re Lady Astor,
You’re broccoli!
You’re romance,
You’re the steppes of Russia,
You’re the pants, on a Roxy usher,
I’m a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop,

But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

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Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

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