Just to list Cole Porter’s enduring songs would take pages. As captivating today as when they were written well over a half-century ago, and heard often in the songlists of cabaret artists, “Night and Day,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” “Anything Goes,” and “Love for Sale” are but a few evergreens of Porter’s copious songbook. He was a one-man team. Unlike many iconic songwriting pairs—Rodgers and Hart, later Rodgers and Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, Lerner and Loewe, Kander and Ebb—he was both composer and lyricist of his songs.
Although he had authored several musicals while at Yale (including one starring his close college friend, Monty Woolley), Porter’s earliest attempt at commercial theater was a flop, and he headed for Europe, where he soon became a darling of the social set. Returning home in the 1920s, his next Broadway musical, Paris, fared better and included “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love).” The following year, Porter’s Fifty Million Frenchmen introduced “You Do Something to Me,” and a year later, his Wake Up and Dream included “What Is This Thing Called Love?”
A 1937 riding accident crushed both of his legs, and Porter would endure dozens of operations and chronic pain for the rest of his life. That notwithstanding, he continued to work, penning the words and music for close to two dozen more Broadway shows and Hollywood films, including Can-Can, Silk Stockings, High Society and the triumphant Kiss Me, Kate. He was born in June 1891 and though he died forty-five years ago, his songs live on.
Category: Hall of Fame