Love For Sale (1960)

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Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife
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Cole Porter
Cole Porter

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"Love for Sale" is a song by Cole Porter, from the musical The New Yorkers which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances. The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising various kinds of "love for sale": "Old love, new love, every love but true love".

The song's chorus, like many in the Great American Songbook, is written in the A-A-B-A format. However, instead of 32 bars, it's 64, plus an 8-bar tag. The tag is often dropped when the song is performed. The tune, using what is practically a trademark for Porter, shifts between a major and minor feeling.

"Love for Sale" was originally considered in bad taste, even scandalous. In the initial Broadway production, it was performed by Kathryn Crawford, portraying a streetwalker, with three girlfriends (Waring's Three Girl Friends) as back-up singers, in front of Reuben's, a popular restaurant of the time. As a response to the criticism, the song was transferred from the white Crawford to the African American singer Elisabeth Welch, who sang with back-up singers in a scene set in front of Harlem's Cotton Club.

Despite the fact the song was banned from radio airplay, or perhaps because of it, it became a hit, with Libby Holman's version going to #5 and the "Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians" version going to #14, both in 1931. (All other 1931 recordings of the song were as an instrumental.)

Notable recordings since include Hal Kemp in 1939, Billie Holiday in 1945, Eartha Kitt in the 1950s, Ella Fitzgerald in 1956, and again in 1972 on her Ella Loves Cole album, Tony Bennett in 1957, Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley for 1958 Miles, Dexter Gordon in 1962, The Manhattan Transfer in 1976, and Elvis Costello, live on the remastered Rhino Entertainment CD of his 1981 record Trust. Harvey Fierstein performs a memorable (if interrupted) version in the movie version of his play Torch Song Trilogy. Simply Red led by Mick Hucknall sang this song at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1992, and Harry Connick Jr. in 1999 on his album Come by Me.

Other vocal versions include Mel Torme's, Dinah Washington's, Diane Schuur's and Fine Young Cannibals'. The song has become a jazz standard, and is often performed in solely instrumentalist versions. Notable among these is the Arthur Lyman version, which revived the song as a single record in 1963.

The song was also performed during a sequence in a gay night club in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely (performed by Vivian Green) and during a similar sequence in Brian DePalma's The Black Dahlia.

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Love For Sale mojo

Okay, so Mojo has these elderly inlaws, both pushing 90. Both enjoy going on the occasional rant, especially if you encourage them by saying something provocative like, oh, say, "Hello". And one of their favorite rants is how Movies and Songs...

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Ella Singing "Love For Sale"--1957

Ella in concert in Amsterdam in 1957. First she sings "Angel Eyes", followed at around 3:20 with "Love For Sale". Enjoy!

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