One year ago today, on the 50th anniversary of the death of Cole Porter, I published a post titled COLE IN ONE. Porter was one of the two preeminent composer-lyricists  (the other being Irving Berlin) of his day, a time in the history of popular music when most songs were written by a team of one (or more) composer(s) and one (or more) lyricist(s)….think George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and DeSylva, Brown and Henderson, for examples.

What made Porter one of a kind was a combination of the unique quality of his melodies and the wit and urbane sophistication of his lyrics, for which he was unrivaled (excepting Lorenz Hart, who wrote lyrics only). This made such a big impression on me when I was young that I “fell in love” with witty, amusing and sometimes poignant rhyme — the kind exemplified non-musically by light verse master Ogden Nash….and even Nash could team up on occasion to write a great song, such as Speak Low (When You Speak Love) with composer Kurt Weill for the 1943 musical One Touch of Venus.

For this post, I have taken the liberty of taking Cole Porter’s What Is This Thing Called Love for a re-write, interposing my interpretation of the well-known refrain onto Porter’s as-written (but seldom-heard) verse which precedes it. You might call it COLE PORTER A LA MUSE:

I was a humdrum person,
Leading a life apart,
When love flew in through my window wide
And quickened my humdrum heart.
Love flew in through my window,
I was so happy then.
But after love had stayed a little while,
Love flew out again.

What is this thing
Called love of light verse?
This funny thing
I love, called light verse.

Just who can solve
Its mystery.
Why should it make
A muse of me?

I saw humor there
One wonderful day;
Youth took my heart
And threw it away.

That’s why I ask the Lord
In light of this curse
What is this thing
Called love of light verse?

In case you’ve forgotten how the real refrain goes, here is the song sung as originally written:


13 comments on “COLE IN ONE (PART TWO)

  1. Don Frankel says:

    You’re not going to believe this Muse and I’m not joking. Earlier this morning I played golf. On the second tee which is a short par 3, 120 hole, I hit a very nice shot that was headed for the tee. Now if was early and foggy and the green was covered with dew. So when I got the green i couldn’t find the ball. After looking around for a good five minutes it dawned on me where the ball might be that I wouldn’t see it. You got it in the hole. An actual hole in one.

    The fates sometimes are kind and that’s why you are a Muse or should I say The Muse.


  2. mistermuse says:

    Congrats on the hole-in-one, Don. What would be even more amazing is if that was the second hole-in-one you’d ever shot (to match the “PART TWO” of my post). Actually, if you want to claim it’s your second hole-in-one (even if it’s not), I won’t tell anyone. 🙂


  3. linnetmoss says:

    Amazing early version of the song! I’m fond of Porter and Nash too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mistermuse says:

    The vocalist here was Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson, who was the Bobby Short of his day (both were sophisticated black cabaret singers with a preference for the songs of sophisticated song writers like Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, etc.). Hutch (a generation before Short) was one of the biggest stars in England in the 1920s & 30s and recorded prolifically – I own a few dozen of his original 78 rpm records.


  5. arekhill1 says:

    Cole and a hole? Golf is one of the few vices I haven’t experimented with so far, Sir Don, but congratulations.


  6. ladysighs says:

    Something needs to be done about this. 🙂


  7. mistermuse says:

    Not sure what, but I’m open to suggestions. 🙂


  8. BroadBlogs says:

    Have you seen the movie, De-Lovely, based on his life? I thought it was pretty interesting.


  9. mistermuse says:

    Haven’t seen it, but (despite mixed reviews) I hear the improvement over the first Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant was like the difference between Night and Day, which just happens to be the title of the first one (which I did see, & thought was awful). Most reviewers say Kevin Kline was excellent as Cole Porter in De-Lovely.


  10. mistermuse says:

    With reference to ladysighs’ comment above that “Something needs to be done about this,” she has indeed “done something” – something completely unexpected, but greatly appreciated. Why not scroll up to her comment, click on her blog and see (and hear) what I mean?


  11. rielyn says:

    Here is the direct link to ladysighs’ vocal stylings for you, Dad, and your readers too. I sense a great collaboration in the making!

    Amusing Muser


  12. mistermuse says:

    Your internet-challenged dad thanks you very much. One of these years I must learn to do that myself. 🙂


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