Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hot: Too Darn Hot

Ella Fitzgerald: Too Darn Hot


I'm not a Broadway musical enthusiast. But, the vast majority of our daughter's waking hours are spent either in dance class or talking about dance. So, on a recent trip to New York, we met up with some friends, and we all went to see an old-fashioned Broadway musical, Anything Goes. "Too Darn Hot" is not from that musical, but was penned by the same songwriter, Cole Porter.

My daughter was thrilled by the dancing. But, what struck the non-dancers among us was how incredibly well-written the songs were. In particular, we were struck by the memorable music and genuinely witty lyrics that Porter created.

His "Too Darn Hot" is in that same tradition. Almost effortlessly, it shifts from a laundry list of things you can't do when the thermometer soars to analysis of the Kinsey Report. Amazing.

"Too Darn Hot" was featured in the Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me Kate, written in 1948 -- the same year the Kinsey Report was issued. Most of the great vocalists of that era have sung it, but the best-known rendition comes from Ella Fitzgerald, who first recorded "Too Darn Hot" for her 1956 album, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook. This smoking hot live version is from her 1960 record, Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin, an outstanding record that was eventually enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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