Almanac: Cole Porter

Songwriter Cole Porter.

CBS News

On June 9th, 1891, 128 years ago today, composer Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana.

He wrote songs that became Broadway and movie mainstays ... songs rich in sophisticated and witty lyrics. Among them, "Let's Do It":

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Let's do it : Cole Porter.( Midnight in Paris ) by Jean Florenzano on YouTube

"Anything Goes"

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking. 
But now, God knows, 
Anything goes. 

Anything Goes performance on the 2011 Tony Awards by GuilbeauxFan on YouTube

"Night and Day"

Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far
It's no matter, darling, where you are
I think of you
Night and day

THE GAY DIVORCEE, Mark Sandrich, 1934 - Fred & Ginger Dancing, Night and Day by FilmStruck on YouTube

"Just One of Those Things"

So goodbye, dear, and Amen
Here's hoping we'll meet now and then
It was great fun
But it was just one of those things

Just One of Those Things - Frank Sinatra by Maureen Ward on YouTube

And "You're the Top"

You're the Nile, You're the Tow'r of Pisa,
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, Baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're The Top - Ella Fitzgerald by Michael Cossette on YouTube

A gay man in an oppressive time, Porter took refuge in a years-long marriage of convenience with the wealthy (and tolerant) socialite Linda Lee Thomas.

And a horse-riding accident led to years of operations and the eventual amputation of a leg.

Still, nothing can take away from the Tonys Porter won in 1949 for the musical "Kiss Me, Kate," the current revival of which just happens to be up for Tony honors tonight.

Cole Porter died in 1964 at the age of 73, but all these years later he still is, dare we say it, "The Top."

       
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Story produced by Charis Satchell.