Saturday, August 1, 2015

Song Spot: Anything Goes


Ever since this song became popular, it has been used by each succeeding generation as a lament for the moral decay of society, the lowering of standards and decency. O tempore! O mores!


The song "Anything Goes"is from the 1934 Cole Porter musical iof the same name, which will be playing at the Sydney Opera House between 5 September and 31 October 2015. Todd McKenney is in it as well as some other familiar names: Carmen Duncan and Gerry Connolly. Caroline O’Connor plays the lead and reviews say that she is a knockout.

Film clips:

Frank Sinatra:

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (duet):

Original version from the 1930’s:

Opening credits of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in Mandarin:

Lyrics:

Written in the Great Depression years, the original lyrics feature references to figures and scandals of the time. The version sung today is the 1955 Frank Sinatra recorded version, which was adopted by Tony Bennett in his 1959 recording.

Original lyrics:

Times have changed
And we've often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got a shock
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
If today
Any shock they should try to stem
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them.

Refrain 1

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking.
But now, God knows,
Anything goes.
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose.
Anything goes.
If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old hymns you like,
If bare limbs you like,
If Mae West you like,
Or me undressed you like,
Why, nobody will oppose.
When ev'ry night the set that's smart is in-
Truding in nudist parties in
Studios.
Anything goes.

Refrain 2

When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
Can get Russian reds to "yes" her,
Then I suppose
Anything goes.
When Rockefeller still can hoard en-
Ough money to let Max Gordon
Produce his shows,
Anything goes.
The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today,
And black's white today,
And day's night today,
And that gent today
You gave a cent today
Once had several chateaux.
When folks who still can ride in jitneys
Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
Lack baby clo'es,
Anything goes.

Refrain 3

If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction
Instruct Anna Sten in diction,
Then Anna shows
Anything goes.
When you hear that Lady Mendl standing up
Now turns a handspring landing up-
On her toes,
Anything goes.
Just think of those shocks you've got
And those knocks you've got
And those blues you've got
From that news you've got
And those pains you've got
(If any brains you've got)
From those little radios.
So Missus R., with all her trimmin's,
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
'Cause Franklin knows
Anything goes.

Modern lyrics:

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows, anything goes

Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four letter words writing prose, anything goes

The world has gone mad today and good's bad today
And black's white today and day's night today
When most guys today that women prize today
Are just silly gigolos

So though I'm not a great romancer
I know that you're bound to answer
When I propose, anything goes

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows, anything goes

And good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four letter words writing prose
'Cause anything goes

The world has gone mad today and good's bad today
And black's white today and day's night today
When most guys today that women prize today
Are just silly gigolos

So though I'm not a great romancer
I know that you're bound to answer
When I propose, anything goes

May I say before this record spins to a close
I want you to know anything goes

Some of the dated references:

When ev'ry night the set that's smart is in-
Truding in nudist parties in
Studios.

There was a belief, perhaps factual, that Hollywood was engaging in debauchery of all kinds, including nudist parties.

Nudism had begun in Germany during the early 20th century as a "get back to nature" sort of thing. It had crossed the Atlantic by the 1930’s but in the context of the above it refers to the movie studios and the reputed sex parties of the movie studios.

When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
Can get Russian reds to "yes" her,
Then I suppose
Anything goes.

Refers to Evalyn Walsh McLean, the wife of Edward Beale “Ned” McLean (owner of The Washington Post and The Cincinnati Enquirer), and her highly publicized trip to the then-newly formed Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (a precursor to the USSR). “Reds” refers to communists.


When Rockefeller still can hoard en-
Ough money to let Max Gordon
Produce his shows,

The Rockefeller family was an American industrial, political, and banking family that made one of the world's largest fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller primarily through Standard Oil

Max Gordon was an American theatre and film producer who became one of New York's most successful producers in Depression-era New York.

John D Rockefeller financed the Broadway productions of Max Gordon, the latter believing that people were tired of the hardships imposed by the Depression and wanted to see extravagant hows.

Gordon’s popularity declined in the 1930’s.

Max Gordon

John D Rockefeller

When folks who still can ride in jitneys
Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
Lack baby clo'es,
Anything goes.

Jitneys were share taxis and also unlicensed taxis, jitney being slang for a nickel.

The Great Depression saw the financial ruin of some individuals who had once held fortunes. Even exorbitantly wealthy families like the four-hundred-year old Whitney dynasty and the family of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt fell on hard times.

If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction
Instruct Anna Sten in diction,
Then Anna shows
Anything goes.

Movie producer Sam Goldwyn's notorious box-office failure Nanah featured a star, Anna Sten, whose English was said to be incomprehensible to all except Goldwyn, who came from the same part of Europe (though, in fact, Goldwyn was from Poland and Sten Ukraine).

Sam Goldwyn


When you hear that Lady Mendl standing up
Now turns a handspring landing up-
On her toes,
Anything goes.

Elsie de Wolfe, popularly known as Lady Mendl, was a pioneer in the field of interior design. By the 1930s she was over 70-years-old, but she continued to perform cartwheels and handstands in public, generating controversy.


So Missus R., with all her trimmin's,
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
'Cause Franklin knows
Anything goes.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Roosevelt, also wrote a monthly question-and-answer column for the Ladies Home Journal and McCall's, and had a weekly radio show sponsored by a mattress company, among others. She was the first Presidential wife to become a major media figure.


By the way, here is a glimpse of stocking to finish off . . . 


Note the advice, ladies.


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