The song born on Broadway, where anything goes
The American Cole Porter was the phenomenal witty lyricist composer whose songs symbolized the flair of the popular song form. This Cole Porter wit is obvious in the satirical “Anything Goes” (1934), considered an American classic. Charles Cochran produced the stage comedy and at the opening of the musical “Anything Goes”, Ethel Merman sang the song “Anything Goes” for the very first time. Merman’s character Sweeney, a nightclub singer aboard the S.S. American, is among a cast of Depression-era high and low society people engaged in Love Boat-craziness. Porter’s delightful gossip and scandal rhymes spun around the melody, with each ranting passage concluding in the line “anything goes”. The melody is jiving and successfully delivers the punchlines. It’s a song etched in popular song history since it has been performed and recorded with slight variations in tempo and lyrics by Frank Sinatra, Chris Connor, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Harper’s Bizarre, Cate Capshaw (for the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), John Barrowman, Sutton Foster, Lindsay Pierce (for the TV show “Glee”), and the Tony Bennett duet with Lady Gaga.
Porter was well-known for his vast contributions to the American musicals. He made an operetta at 10 and published his first music at 11 years old. As a Yale student, he had already composed 300 songs. His Broadway debut was with “See America First” (1916). Porter transferred to France and got married to fellow American Linda Lee Thomas (1919). Upon his return to the US, Porter composed several musical pieces for hit comedies including “Anything Goes”, “Red, Hot and Blue”, “Jubilee”, “Dubarry Was a Lady”, “Panama Hattie”, “Kiss Me, Kate”, “Can-Can”, and “Silk Stockings”. His catalog of music includes the hits “Night and D, ay”, “Begin the Beguine”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “I Love Paris”, “I Concentrate On You”, and “Just One of Those Things”.