Please share your own favorites in the comment thread below. Cole Porter was a master of the list song, a type of song in which the lyrics form an endlessly witty and often humorous catalogue of references. The melody tumbles forward with an infectious syncopation. Here is a recording of Porter performing the song:. The lyric moves from double rhyme to triple rhyme to conclude with this stunning tour de force of virtuosity:. Strangely, these whimsical lyrics accompany a melody that contains more than a tinge of sadness, perhaps even loneliness. This recording features the distinctive voice of Ethel Merman, who sang the song in the original Broadway production. Harmonically, notice the way the song begins with instability and dissonance before working its way to a resolution. Listen to the way this melody begins with a half step the closest musical interval and then ventures higher in a series of steps. Again, there is something poignant about the way this melody seems to be searching.
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Please refresh the page and retry. He composed more than 1, songs for the stage and screen, including classics such as Night and Day. Here we attempt the impossible and pick his 10 best and there's no room even for You're the Top. Jazz singers always loved trying to match the phrasing of Porter's lyrics and the song was a favourite of Ella Fitzgerald.
Now those recordings, and the songs they illuminate, are everywhere. Like all victories in art, this one has a double-edged result. On the one hand, the music is, mostly, out there. On the other, the essential work of discrimination is lost in a blanketing cloud of nostalgia. Embattled memory takes things apart; complacent nostalgia squashes them back together. He preferred Harold Arlen, who knew jazz inside out, to Gershwin—a shocking view then. When you are in the middle of a battle, as Wilder was, it is important to sort out the fighters from the freeloaders. Once it has been won, everybody gets a medal.