The music was always terrific, the lyrics awesome and they made you want to sing and dance. I’m talking about the wonderful work of the incredible and talented composer and lyricist Cole Porter, who was born on June 9, 1891. I bet that night the stars sure did shine bright. He arrived in this world in Peru, Indiana in the U.S. He began developing his musical talent at the age of 14. His grandfather wished that Porter would become an attorney so he sent him to Yale to get an Ivy League education.
It was at university that Porter had the chance to further show everyone the talent he had for music. He wrote football fight songs and performed with the famous Cappella group the Whiffenpoofs. Afterward, he did make an attempt to study law but finally discovered that his one and only love was music and headed off for the lights of New York City in 1914. However his first attempts at success failed and since his family could finance him he headed off for Paris, France in 1916. There he spent two-decades living the Bohemian life.
Porter found himself in the company of other greats like Hemmingway, Stein, and others who were members of the Lost Generation of poets and writers. He spent all of the 1920s in Paris and returned to New York in the 1930s and started to gain popularity. He became a major songwriter for Broadway musicals. In 1948 he came out with the successful musical “Kiss Me, Kate” which won a Tony Award for Best Musical.
Among his other musicals are “Anything Goes”, “Can-Can”, and “Silk Stockings”. Many popular and well-known hit songs such as “Night and Day”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “You’re the Top”. All of his songs have been sung many times by different artists and his musicals have been performed time and time again.
His musical talent also found a home in film scores. Movies like “Born to Dance” in 1936 featured “You’d Be Easy to Love”, “Rosalie” featuring “In the Still of the Night” and “High Society” with “True Love”. He was and remains one of the most famous and well-liked figures in the 20th century of American popular music. Of course, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers took his song “Day and Night” and made it a Hollywood movie fantasy.
What especially brings fond memories to me is that when I was in high school I joined the chorus for our high school theater performance. We gave a great rendition of “Anything Goes” and the number which got a standing ovation with “Blow Gabriel Blow” Today high school performances get put down to memory on video cassettes and I guess now also DVDs. How I wish that it had been at that time too because it would have been great to see me there on stage along with all of my friends.