Swellegant songs from a sensational composer

Our summer of musicals kicks off next week (May 10) with Cole Porter’s High Society, the swellegant musical comedy. We’ve been asked by many where the word “swellegant” came from? Coined by Cole Porter in his song “Well, Did You Evah,” it means nifty, witty, swank, jazzy. Swell + elegant! Made famous by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the 1956 film High Society, and also included in the stage musical, the song is just one of Cole Porter’s many swellegant contributions to the Great American Songbook and western popular culture. Do you recognize the versions of his songs below?

 

1. In 2001, Robbie Williams sang a duet with actor Jon Lovitz of the aforementioned  “Well, Did You Evah”  at the Royal Albert Hall. The recording can be found on Williams Swing When You’re Winning album. Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop also recorded the song in 1990 for Red Hot + Blue, a compilation album released as part of a HIV/AIDS benefit project.

2. Did you know that the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was named after the Porter song? Originally sung by Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm in the film version of High Society, their characters decide that they have little desire to be wealthy (Hmm, I think American singers Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars might beg to differ).
In the spirit of this delightful game show, we have a trivia question for you! In the 1950s and 1960s, Quincy Jones directed orchestras for which of these crooners?
A. Frank Sinatra
B. Jerry Vale
C. Bing Crosby
D. Perry Como
*Go to 1:23 of this clip to find out!

3. Also featured in the 1956 film High Society, “True Love” was sung Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly and became a gold record. The song has been recorded by artists such as Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Anne Murray, and Neil Diamond. The version below by Elton John and Kiki Dee, was included on the European version of John’s 1995 Love Songs album.

To enjoy the original versions of these songs, purchase tickets to High Society today!

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