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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let's Misbehave

By Cole Porter
1927

One of the signature, defining tunes of the Roaring '20s, and yet it almost didn't see the light of day. Porter composed this ode to free-wheeling sexuality for his first major Broadway revue, Paris, but it was substituted at the last minute with another Porter gem, "Let's Do It" (it was eventually included in the 1962 revival of Anything Goes). Nevertheless, the star of Paris, Irene Bordoni, made a recording of it that became an instant hit. It has since become a song that instantly conjures up those Jazz Age days, and thus has appeared in many films over the years. The 1928 Irving Aaronson version alone has been featured in two Woody Allen films, was danced to by Christopher Walken in Pennies from Heaven, and most recently appeared in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Elvis Costello also performed it in the Cole Porter biopic, De-Lovely.

Lyrics:

You could have a great career,
And you should;
Yes you should.
Only one thing stops you dear:
You're too good;
Way too good!

If you want a future, darlin',
Why don't you get a past?
'Cause that fateful moment's comin' at last...

We're all alone, no chaperone
Can get our number
The world's in slumber--let's misbehave!!!

There's something wild about you child
That's so contagious
Let's be outrageous--let's misbehave!!!

When Adam won Eve's hand
He wouldn't stand for teasin'.
He didn't care about those apples out of season.

They say that Spring means just one little thing to little lovebirds
We're not above birds--let's misbehave!!!

It's getting late and while I wait
My poor heart aches on
Why keep the breaks on? Let's misbehave!!!

I feel quite sure affaire d'amour
Would be attractive
While we're still active, let's misbehave!

You know my heart is true
And you say you for me care...
Somebody's sure to tell,
But what the heck do we care?

They say that bears have love affairs
And even camels
We're men and mammals--let's misbehave!!!


Recorded By:

Irving Aaronson and His Commanders
Cole Porter
Elvis Costello
Cybill Shepherd
Ethel Merman

3 comments:

Sally said...

I love this song! One of my favorites! I first heard it on the "De-Lovely" soundtrack. But when I saw it in "Easy Virtue," I got kind of addicted to it for a while. My college roommate and I used to take study breaks by turning this song on and dancing around our room like silly people. We were trying to look like the people in this clip, but I don't think we ever quite achieved that glamor:

http://youtu.be/fIk-89s0Py0

Emma Wallace did a lovely cover of it a few years back that I absolutely loved!

B-Sol said...

I'd love to see if a video of that dancing, Sally!

Anonymous said...

Cole Porter's lyrics are sometimes difficult to understand because he frequently used French words and phrases—which are then misheard by American listeners such as we. According to "The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter" (1983), the lyric in the second verse is:

I feel quite sure un peu d'amour
Would be attractive.

The boy just wants "a little love," not a love affair.

Hard to believe this song was dropped from "Paris," to be replaced by the equally clever "Let's Do It." Both are great songs, with Porter at his risque best.

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