Cole Porter, part 1: standards and selected hits, 1928-34



Cole Porter Online
Cole Wide Web
Songwriters Hall of Fame
PBS: American Masters

See also these Songbook feature pages:

Selected Cole Porter standards from Broadway musicals:



Paris – 1928

1928 Paris, Cole Porter, Irene Bordoni

Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) (Cole Porter)   The song was introduced in the Broadway musical Paris which included five Porter compositions (several others were dropped before the New York opening).

B.A. Rolfe and his Palais D’or Orchestra – 1928.


Bill Wirges and his Orchestra – 1928   — Who? A site called “Dismuke’s Hit of the Week” provides an answer while reviewing a recording, a duet (banjo and piano), by Harry Reser and Bill Wirges:

The pianist, Bill Wirges was a member of Reser’s band  (The band even made some records under the pseudonym of Bill  Wirges  and His  Orchestra.)


Lee Morse and her Blue Grass Boys – recorded 7 December 1928


Kim Basinger – in the film The Marrying Man (1991)


1929 What Is This Thing Called Love, from Wake Up and Dream, Cole Porter-1a (sm)



Wake Up and Dream – What Is This Thing Called Love?

Fifty Million Frenchmen – You Do Something to Me


The New Yorkers – Love for Sale


Gay Divorce1932

Fred Astaire with Claire Luce in Gay Divorce (1932), and with Ginger Rogers in The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Gay Divorce — credits and “background” adapted from Wikipedia:

1932 Gay Divorce, Cole Porter-poster 1Music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Dwight Taylor, adapted by Kenneth Webb and Samuel Hoffenstein. It was Fred Astaire’s last Broadway show and featured the hit song “Night and Day” in which Astaire danced with co-star Claire Luce. RKO Radio Pictures adapted it into a musical film in 1934, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and renamed The Gay Divorcee.

Astaire’s sister Adele retired from show business and married Lord Charles Cavendish after her last show with Fred, The Band Wagon (1931). When the producers of Gay Divorce asked Fred to star in the show, he deferred an answer until he could spend the summer of 1932 wooing his future wife, Phyllis, in London. He finally agreed, and rehearsals began in September 1932. The show was both Astaire’s last Broadway musical (after which he moved to Hollywood) and also his only stage musical without Adele. Also in the cast were Erik Rhodes and Eric Blore who soon became famous in the early 1930s RKO comedies.

Gay Divorce opened in pre-Broadway tryouts at the Wilbur Theatre, Boston on November 7, 1932 and then moved to the Shubert Theatre, New Haven on November 21, 1932. It opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on November 29, 1932 and transferred to the Shubert Theatre on January 16, 1933 and closed on July 1, 1933 for a total run of 248 performances. Directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Barbara Newberry and Carl Randall, and set design by Jo Mielziner, the cast featured Fred Astaire as Guy Holden, Claire Luce as Mimi, Luella Gear as Hortense, G. P. Huntley Jr as Teddy, Betty Starbuck as Barbara Wray, Erik Rhodes as Tonetti, Eric Blore as Waiter, and Roland Bottomley as Pratt.


Hit songs from the Broadway musical Gay Divorce:

Henry Hall 3a-c1Les Allen (1)

After You, Who?

Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra, vocal: Les Allen — c. 1933


Fred Astaire — date unknown


Jody Watley – 1990


Night and Day

From Wikipedia:

1934 Night and Day sheet, Gay Divorcee

It is perhaps Porter’s most popular contribution to the Great American Songbook and has been recorded by dozens of artists. Fred Astaire introduced “Night and Day” on stage, and his recording of the song was a #1 hit. He performed it again in the 1934 film version of the show, renamed The Gay Divorcee, and it became one of his signature pieces.

Porter was known to claim that the Islamic call to worship he heard on a trip to Morocco inspired the song.

The song was so associated with Porter that when Hollywood first filmed his life story in 1946, the movie was entitled Night and Day.


Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Fred Astaire — 1932


Astaire-Rogers-34-Gay Divorcee-2b-e1Astaire-Rogers-34-gay-divorcee-dm-1-lg-sh20

Fred Astaire sings the song to Ginger Rogers in the RKO film Gay Divorcee (1934)


Maxine Sullivan — 1938



Frank Sinatra-c1942-01-10t

Frank Sinatra — recorded on 19 January 1942, arranged by Axel Stordahl, the first of eight recordings on seven session from 1942 to 1977, according to The Youtube provider indicates that this recording date was also his first solo recording session for RCA.


In the 1943 film Reveille With Beverly


Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – from their second album, Equinox – 1967



Anything Goes – 1934

Visit our separate page Cole Porter: four standards from the musical Anything Goes, 1934, featuring:

  • “I Get a Kick Out of You”
  • “Anything Goes”
  • “You’re the Top”
  • All Through the Night” — separate page


Adios, Argentina – 1934

Don’t Fence Me Inmusic by Cole Porter and lyrics by Robert Fletcher and Cole Porter

From Wikipedia:

Originally written in 1934 for Adios, Argentina, an unproduced 20th Century Fox film musical, “Don’t Fence Me In” was based on text by a poet and engineer with the Department of Highways in Helena, Montana, Robert (Bob) Fletcher. Cole Porter, who had been asked to write a cowboy song for the 20th Century Fox musical, bought the poem from Fletcher for $250. Porter reworked Fletcher’s poem, and when the song was first published, Porter was credited with sole authorship. Porter had wanted to give Fletcher co-authorship credit, but his publishers did not allow that. After the song became popular, however, Fletcher hired attorneys who negotiated his being given co-authorship credit in subsequent publications. Although it was one of the most popular songs of its time, Porter claimed it was his least favorite of his own compositions.[1]


Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers in the filmHollywood Canteen (1944)


Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters

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