All Through the Night

Reviewed by mojo

This I will always remember as the first song on the first Ella CD I ever bought. It's a nice enough song. Not Cole Porter's best, but it just sort of glides along, smooth as ice. I do rather enjoy the metronomic line "To the monotone of the evening's drone, I'm all alone" along with the sort of gradual, half-stepping down as each stanza progresses. Ella's just taking a casual stroll through the effortless part of her range, showing us talentless hacks how it's done while being kind enough (unlike Mojo, who, let's face it, can be something of a jerk) to not rub our pathetic talentless hackitude directly in our faces.

Unfortunately for me, I became a diehard fan just as Ella was winding down her career and never got to see her live in concert. But one of her very last concerts ever was at Radio City Music Hall and the New York Times printed a short review, which (being the geek I was at the time in addition to a NYT reader) I clipped out and put up on my bulletin board at work for a few weeks. I think the clipping was supposed to INSPIRE me to not be such an idiot and seize the day and buy tickets the next time she was going to put on a concert, but that never happened again, as far as I know.

I was also working at a prestigious women's college at the time, and I suppose I was trying to inspire America's Future Leaders to always strive for excellence by using Lady Ella as a prime example ... or at least to improve their abominable taste in music. Or both. I'm a geeky stupid fangirl, so who knows what motivations lurk in the muddy depths of my psyche? Better to leave some silt undisturbed. But I digress.

The review was very short, because really, what's the reviewer gonna say? It's ELLA. And not only is it ELLA, but it's a seventy-plus woman who's been in the biz for most of her life, still singing to sold-out crowds at Radio City. I mean, geez! She gets props just for showing up, let alone put on a decent show! Which she apparently did. Anyway, one single line from the review I have totally remembered, even though it's been over fifteen years, and that was a brief reference to Ella's "glowing lower register". (In fact, by virtue of remembering that ONE phrase, I was able to Google it and find said review here.) And every time I hear this song, that's what I think about--Ella's glowing lower register...

All Through the Night (1956)

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Cole Porter
Cole Porter

"All Through the Night" was written in 1934 for Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes. The original produciton opened on November 21, 1934 at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway and ran for 420 performances with Ethel Merman starring as evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer Reno Sweeney. It was made into a film in 1936 with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman, but the book and the score was changed and only two of the original songs survived. It was made into another movie in 1956, retitled Tops is the Limit.

They also made a TV version in 1954, again with Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra. In that version they changed the main character's name, Billy Crocker, to Harry Dane.

in the original production "All Through the Night" was the third song in the show, but in the 1987 revival it was pushed to being the fifth song in the second act. In the show it is sung by the characters Billy Crocker and Hope Harcourt.