Ask any fan of musicals or jazz who their favorite composer is and the answer is likely to be Cole Porter. Mr. Porter is known for his deceptively simple, clever and thought provoking lyrics. Although he may have sold his first song in the 1920s his music is still well known today and has been featured in everything from Broadway revivals to television commercials.
His songs were groundbreaking in that they managed to stay within the mainstream while being sexually suggestive such as in, ”it’s Alright With Me,” which hints at his homosexuality; historically educational as in, “Just One of Those Things,” in which he describes great break ups through history; and filled with clever metaphors such as, “All Of You” which compares a man’s wanting a woman, to a leader wanting to achieve world domination.
Most people know that Mr. Porter was a Yale graduate. Anyone who has ever seen, “High Society,” might guess that the composer was raised as a member of the upper crust. Fans of musical history may note that he was one of the first recipients of a Grammy and won four Oscars. There are still a few things most people don’t know about Cole Porter.
He almost became an attorney
Instead of writing, “Love for Sale” Mr. Porter might have been defending people who sold their love. He attended Harvard Law School at the wishes of his extremely conservative grandfather. Fortunately for all of us the lyricist dropped out and headed to Broadway.
He was in constant pain for last 27 years of his life
Mr. Porter had a serious horseback riding in 1937 in which his horse rolled on him and crushed his legs. He refused amputation and wrote music to take his mind off of the pain. The leg finally had to be amputated in 1958.
He shares a birthday with Johnny Depp
America’s favorite jazz composer shares his June 9 birthday with America’s favorite pirate. Other notable June 9 babies include Natalie Portman and Michael J. Fox.
He was a Gleek
When he was at Yale he was a member of the glee club and was responsible for writing many of their fight songs.
He lounged at the Waldorf
Mr. Porter spent his finally years in an opulent suite at the Waldorf Towers in New York. After many years of being the life of the party, he became a recluse.