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Cole Porter

“Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.”Cole Porter

Everyone was doin’ it in the 1930’s - falling in love with Cole Porter’s music. Throughout the decade, the composer beguiled the American public with hits such as “Night and Day,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” Few could match his songwriting abilities and Porter set new standards, which even today’s composers still aspire to.

Born in Peru, Indiana in 1891, Porter took an interest in music at an early age. He began composing in his teens and continued writing while studying law at Harvard University.

In 1916, his first musical was performed. The show, “See America First,” failed to bring in audiences and closed after only fifteen performances. Undaunted, Porter began to travel around Europe and settled for a brief period of time in Paris.

During his days abroad, he contributed to many musicals including “Hitchy-Koo” and the “Greenwich Village Follies.” However, it wasn’t until his song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love” appeared in the 1928 musical “Paris,” that he had his first big hit.

Although Porter was influenced by composers such as George Gershwin, Richard Rogers and Jerome Kern, he had his own distinct style. His funny lyrics and catchy melodies struck a chord with the public. Songs such as “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” and “Too Darn Hot,” became instant hits.

In 1937, Porter was in a horseback riding accident that crippled him for life. However, he went on to produce some of his finest work in the 1940s and 50s. He wrote countless songs for Broadway musicals including “Anything Goes,” “Silk Stockings”and “Can Can.” His most successful musical, “Kiss Me Kate.” opened in 1948 and ran for over one thousand performances.

Porter spent the final years of his life in seclusion and died in California in 1964. His legacy continues to live on in productions of his musicals and in recordings of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne.

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Last updated: 3/5/2006.

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