Cole Porter

Cole Porter
“Night and Day” was written by Cole Porter for the 1932 Broadway musical “The Gay Divorce” starring Fred Astaire. It was the last Broadway show for Astaire and the last show that he performed with his sister Adele.
In 1934 Hollywood produced a film version of the Broadway musical retitled “The Gay Divorcee.” The Hays Office Hollywoods self-censorship body determined that the original title was too controversial. The film starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in their first leading roles together.
“Night and Day” was the only Cole Porter musical number used from the Broadway production. As a footnote one of the films big production numbers “The Continental” by Conrad and Magidson won the Academy Award for Best Song that year.
In 1946 a film was made about Cole Porters life called “Night and Day.” The biography starring Cary Grant as a heroic and heterosexual Cole Porter was not accurate in detail or character but Porter did not object.
Cole Porter was born in Indiana in 1891 to parents who were wealthy. He received an extensive musical education learning the piano and the violin by age six. His favorite of the two was the piano which he practiced two hours daily. By age ten he was writing words and music to original songs and by age seventeen he published his first song.
Porter also received an impressive academic education which carried him through Yale and into Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Music. While at Yale Porter became the president of the Glee Club and a cheer leader and among the 300 songs he wrote while at Yale he wrote two football fight songs that are still played today. Despite being the roommate of Dean Acheson the future Secretary of State under President Truman Porter dropped out of Harvard Law School to continue with his music education.
After World War I Porter moved to Europe where he met and married Linda Lee Thomas a beautiful and rich divorcee and a descendant of the Lees of Virginia. Their relationship was a loving supportive lifelong partnership. Cole Porter was gay and had numerous male interests which Linda had agreed to allow. However the marriage was at times unstable when Porters gay interests threatened the couples carefully maintained social appearances.
Following their marriage in 1919 in Paris the Porters lived an extravagant lifestyle in Europe through the 1920s. Their palatial home in Paris had floor to ceiling mirrors and zebra skin upholstery. Later they moved into a famous palace in Venice where their lush parties included fifty gondoliers circus acrobats and a ballet company. They also built a night club outside their palace which accommodated 100 guests.
Back in New York Porters first few contributions to Broadway musicals were poorly received. However by the end of the 1920s Porter gained recognition and through the 1930s and 1940s he was one of the brightest stars on Broadway. He worked excessively and tirelessly on his musical productions and spent time in both New York and Hollywood.
In 1937 a terrible horse riding accident crushed both of Porters legs. As the story goes while waiting for hours for help to arrive he composed the lyrics to a verse of his song “At Long Last Love.” The accident left him crippled and in pain for the rest of his life. He underwent more than 30 leg operations until his right leg was finally amputated in 1958. Following his leg amputation Cole Porter dropped out of music production until his death in 1964.
Porter said that the stimulus for the ballad “Night and Day” was his memory of hearing distant tom toms while cruising down the Nile River in Egypt.
“Night and Day” was sung by Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers in the film “The Gay Divorcee.” The romantic lyrics of Cole Porter and the lovely dance of Astaire and Rogers combine to create one of Hollywoods most memorable moments.
Here are the Cole Porter lyrics to “Night and Day.”
Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tomWhen the jungle shadows fallLike the tick tick tock of the stately clockAs it stands against the wallLike the drip drip drip of the raindropsWhen the summer shower is throughSo a voice within me keeps repeating you you you
Night and day you are the oneOnly you beneath the moon or under the sunWhether near to me or farIt’s no matter darling where you areI think of you day and night
Night and day why is it soThat this longing for you follows wherever I goIn the roaring traffic’s boomIn the silence of my lonely roomI think of you day and night
Night and dayunder the hide of meThere’s an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of meAnd this torment won’t be throughUntil you let me spend my life making love to youDay and night night and day


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