The Lady Is a Tramp

Reviewed by mojo

Ya know, this is what I like best about this self-imposed task. Serendipitous juxtaposition, which we shall now call "SJ" for short. I get to go from "Lady Be Good" to "The Lady Is a Tramp". Which is it, you ask? Rest assured when I say, when it's Ella, it's gonna be BOTH. And both will be expressed with the sheer perfection that is Ella, and whether you take the "good" route or the "tramp" route or circle around and try both, it's all gonna be fun.

Much like "Lady Be Good", "The Lady Is a Tramp" likewise seemed to become an Ella standard, especially when she accompanied Frank Sinatra himself on stage to sing it. Give or take Sinatra's apparently interesting personal life, odd quirks, and occasional eyebrow-raising associations, two things are obvious when you check out him and Ella on YouTube--one, of course, the guy COULD sing, and two, he honestly appears to be totally and completely worshipful when he got to sing with Ella. Check him out--for all the smarmy Las Vegas entertainer-style stuff going on, his body language to me seems to imply he's just THRILLED TO DEATH to be on the same stage with the woman.

And who wouldn't? Well, Mojo for one, since I'm just a barely passable singer and should a time machine be invented so I could actually get onstage with Ella I'm sure I'd just act like a blithering idiot, croak weakly once or twice, and just go sit down and defer to her genius. I mean, whaddaya gonna do? Outsing her? Try to keep up? If there were a contest going on, or an awards ceremony, I'd tell the others, WHY SHOW UP? Just give the lady the stage and shut up already. But maybe that's just me. I might be slightly biased, I admit. But only slightly.

Like most songs in this particular concert, this is just such a quintessential version of this song. Above and beyond Mojo's suspicion that this song was written by Just For Her, being a "hobohemian" and all, the whole Berlin concert is just so freakin' AWESOME I should just shut up and let you enjoy the music. So check out the video clips, okay? And fall in love anew...

The Lady Is a Tramp (1960)

Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
From What Album(s)?: 
Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife
Disc Number: 
Richard Rodgers
Lorenz Hart

From Wikipedia:


"The Lady Is a Tramp" is a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms. This song is a sophisticated and witty spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is significant: "I get too hungry for dinner at eight..."). It has become a classic song in the pop standards/vocal genre. Several stars have recorded their own renditions.

It was also recorded and released in 1937 by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, featuring Edythe Wright on vocals. In addition, it was recorded and released in 1937 by Midge Williams and Her Jazz Jesters. Bernie Cummins also recorded the song in 1937 on the Vocalion records label (#3714).

Lena Horne recorded the song with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Orchestra on March 30, 1948. Her performance appeared in the film, Words and Music, a fictionalized biography of the partnership of Rodgers and Hart.

It was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald in 1950s and Shirley Bassey in the 1960s, becoming a signature song for each of them. Sinatra also sang it in the film Pal Joey. (In later years, as heard on the first Duets album, Sinatra would often alter the title lyric to "...That's why this chick is a champ."). Fitzgerald would also in turn alter the lyrics, to praise Sinatra or Sidney Poitier "...and for Frank Sinatra I whistle and stamp!". She and Sinatra sang the song as a duet on the 1967 television special A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim. Sammy Davis, Jr. made it a staple song in his live routines. Less conventional interpretations include versions by Alice Cooper, Yes, Tokyo Jihen, and They Might Be Giants.

The Supremes recorded the song on their Rodgers and Hart tribute album titled The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart. The group also recorded a version live at the prestigious Copacabana Night Club in New York in 1967.

Sinatra recorded another version of the song in 1968 as a favor to The Beatles. Sammy Cahn wrote new lyrics to the song as a birthday gift to Ringo Starr's wife, Maureen. His recording was pressed as a single as Apple 1. Only one copy was made, and the tape and masters were destroyed. Since there is only one copy, and since Sinatra and the Beatles were both involved, this may be among the most valuable records in the world.[1] The recording has been bootlegged.[2]

The song also features in the play "The Big Payback" sung by Ben Peake

Lily Allen sang this song with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on his annual New Years TV programme, Jools Hollands Hootenanny.

Lisa Hannigan performed this song at the Dublin Fringe Festival.[3]

Kerry Ellis performed this song at the Henley festival on July 10th 2009 which was later aired on BBC Radio 2 as part of Friday Night is Music Night on August 28th 2009.