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“You’re the Top”

16 Mar

So, I’m taking a brief break from my blog. A dearth of ideas (I’m clearly not watching enough movies right now) coupled with a busier week than usual has resulted in little blogging. I was straining to think of something for Friday, but then it occurred to me that chatter for the sake of chatter probably does not make for compelling reading. But I will be back Monday…and will still be online reading blog posts.

However, today I thought I would post a song that I absolutely adore. I’m in the process of learning the lyrics. At the moment, I keep singing the first few verses ad nauseam. “You’re the Top” was written by Cole Porter for his 1934 musical, “Anything Goes.” It was introduced by Ethel Merman. The musical never did get a good film adaptation, but has been revived multiple times on Broadway, most recently in 2011. I even got to see it once in Seattle (though I thought the tap dancing was a bit flaccid, but perhaps my standards are a bit high).

The lyrics are delightful, but filled with so many contemporary allusions that I went in search of an article that provides historical annotations to the lyrics, which I definitely recommend reading.

Here is a somewhat bleary video featuring Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby in the less than faithful 1936 film adaptation (half the songs were apparently removed to make way for songs written specifically for Crosby). But the rapport between them is fun. The lyrics have, however, been considerably modified.

And Ethel Merman again in a 1934 recording.

And I can’t leave out Ella Fitzgerald. She is pure pleasure to listen to.

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10 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Music

 

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10 responses to ““You’re the Top”

  1. The Animation Commendation

    March 16, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Enjoy your break! And yeah, that is a great song!

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. B Noir Detour

    March 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I love the song — and most everything Cole Porter. It has some great references to the past in it, from Arrow collars to Coolidge dollars!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      March 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      I know what you mean – it’s a better history lesson than some books!

      Cole Porter is marvelous, isn’t he? Along with Lorenz Hart, I think he’s one of the wittiest and cleverest lyricists of the era.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Andrea Lundgren

    March 16, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I’m not sure how complimentary some of that is. Being called a turkey dinner…? Still, it’s a great song. I can see why it’s taking you some time to learn the lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      March 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      You raise a good point – if someone actually called me a turkey dinner to my face, it would definitely be bemusing. Though at least it’s better than just being called a turkey!

      Like

       
  4. Charles W. Callahan

    March 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t know who wrote the additional lyrics for the Crosby/Merman version in ANYTHING GOES ’36, but they sort of stink. Bing, as usual, ad-libs too much. The Cary Grant/Ginny Sims version from NIGHT AND DAY ’46 is pure Porter, though edited. The ’56 version of ANYTHING GOES has Sammy Cahn “improving” Mr. Porter, which he also did for the screen version of Can Can ’60.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      March 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks for the info! I have not seen Night and Day or the ’56 Anything Goes yet, but I have to agree that the ’36 version lacked that Porter zip.

      It is rather fascinating to track the changes of lyrics in film. When I watched the film version of Les Miserables, they seemed to have changed a number of lyrics and I can’t figure out why (it couldn’t have been for censorship reasons like it was during the Hays Code). It seemed to dumb it down, though.

      Like

       
  5. Silver Screenings

    March 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Whoa! I’ve never heard the Ella Fitzgerald version before – how is that possible? – and I LOVE IT. Like you said, she’s always pure pleasure. She makes singing seem as easy as breathing.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      March 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Oh yes! I sometimes try to sing along with her and my ill success always reminds me of how amazing she is. 🙂 Have you heard her Songbook Albums? She’s done albums for many of the great composers, like Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook, or George Gershwin Songbook or Cole Porter. It was my first introduction to her, but also such a fantastic introduction to all the important songs from the various composers.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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