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Cole Porter

Composers

Biography

Born: June 9, 1891; Peru, IN   Died: October 15, 1964; Santa Monica, CA  
Cole Porter was born the grandson of wealthy Indiana entrepreneur J.O. Cole and demonstrated musical talent from an early age. Porter entered Yale in 1913, joined the glee club and composed fight songs, some of which are still sung at Yale today. Porter's attempt to make it through Harvard Law School proved disappointing, and by 1916 he was in New York trying out his first Broadway show, which closed after only 15 performances. Porter would soon Read more follow it with yet more failures.

In 1917 Cole Porter move to Paris and lived there for much of the 1920s. Though bisexual, in 1919 Porter married, and in 1923 composed his only large-scale "serious" work, the ballet Within the Quota, a piece that anticipated the symphonic jazz genre. In Paris, Porter met songwriter and producer E. Ray Goetz, brother-in-law of Irving Berlin. The first show they wrote together, Paris (1928), finally broke Porter's long losing streak and provided him with his first hit song, "(Let's Do It) Let's Fall in Love." Porter's next production, Fifty Million Frenchman (1929), was a smash and established his reputation. For this show Porter provided both lyrics and music, which would remain his working method for the rest of his career.

Throughout the 1930s Porter maintained a steady stream of Broadway successes, including The Gay Divorce (1932), Anything Goes (1934), Jubilee (1935), and Red, Hot and Blue (1936). Many of the songs for which Porter is best known were written for these productions, such as "Night and Day," "Begin the Beguine," "You're the Top," and "I Get a Kick Out of You." In 1937 Porter was injured in a riding accident, which resulted in the loss of a leg. For Porter this was a devastating setback and it resulted in his withdrawal from the active social life he had previously known. Nonetheless, Porter enjoyed his greatest Broadway successes afterward, with Du Barry Was a Lady (1939), Panama Hattie (1942), and Kiss Me, Kate (1948), which broke all standing box-office records with an unheard of 1,077 performances. Porter also wrote for motion pictures and lived for many years in Hollywood.

With the death of his wife in 1954 Porter began to slow down, and when he lost his other leg in 1958 Porter stopped writing altogether, living out his remaining years in seclusion. Cole Porter was an enormously prolific songwriter; a published collection of his lyrics contains words for more than 800 songs. Read less
Browse 1-4 of 4 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    The Cole Porter Songbook
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 58413 Release Date: 03/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cole Porter
    Performer:  Anne Jeffreys,  Howard Keel,  Gogi Grant,  Lena Horne  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri René,  William Hill-Bowen,  Lennie Hayton,  Hugo Winterhalter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  William Hill-Bowen Orchestra,  Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 2.
    Originals - Musical Comedy 1909-1935
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 82405 Release Date: 01/18/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Scott,  Nora Bayes,  George M. Cohan,  Elsie Janis  ... 
    Performer:  Blanche Ring,  Nora Bayes,  Jack Norworth,  Al Jolson  ... 
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Leonard Joy,  Richard Himber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Chorus,  Ritz-Carlton Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 3.
    Cole Porter: Centennial Gala Concert
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 75277 Release Date: 03/10/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cole Porter
    Performer:  Dolores Gray,  Sammy Cahn,  Steve Barton,  Van Johnson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cole Porter Orchestra
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  • 4.
    American Songbook - The American Music Collection Vol 3
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7360 Release Date: 04/23/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  George Gershwin,  Marc Blitzstein,  William Bolcom  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Blier,  Judy Kaye,  William Sharp,  Karen Holvik  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Barrett,  Joel Revzen,  H. Robert Reynolds
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Musical Theater Festival Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra members,  Minnesota Orchestra members  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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