Who sang this song Anything Goes

Anything Goes


Anything Goes

Text & music

Music & lyrics by Cole Porter


On November 21, 1934, Cole Porter's new musical "Anything Goes" premiered on Broadway (at the Alvin Theater) and was played to a sold-out house for a year. The stars of the show were William Gaxton and Ethel Merman in the lead roles, and it was also reserved for Merman to perform the title song of the same name, which was soon to go around the world - in the same year two prominent orchestras, namely Paul Whiteman and the brothers Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey put the song on record. With "I Get A Kick Out Of You" the show contained another song presented by Merman that was to become an evergreen.

Almost two years later, Paramount Pictures filmed the musical in Hollywood (director: Lewis Milestone), with Bing Crosby and - of course - Ethel Merman in the leading roles. The film premiered on January 24, 1936, and the strip, like the Broadway show, was a great success, not least because of Cole Porter's ingenious music. In addition to his pieces, Friedrich Holländer, who has meanwhile emigrated from Nazi Germany, was represented here with some songs that Porters still knew from Europe.

"Anything Goes", which was first performed in Europe (London) in 1935 and has since seen numerous remakes on New York's Broadway and in London's West End (most recently in 2002), is still one of the classics of the genre and was one of Porter's most successful Productions. In 1956, the classic show inspired a new Hollywood film (again with Paramount, directed by Robert Lewis), starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor.

While Frank Sinatra sang “I Get A Kick Out Of You” for the first time in 1943 and then kept it in the program for fifty years more or less without a break, things looked different with the title song. In November 1953 Sinatra played alongside - again - Ethel Merman in a television game adaptation of "Anything Goes", but singing the theme song was again reserved for Merman. It wasn't until January 1956: Sinatra and Nelson Riddle made a recording for Capitol Records, which came out on the legendary album "Songs For Swinging Lovers" in March 1956, which is widely regarded as one of Sinatra's best albums of all time . His version of “Anything Goes” has become accordingly famous, although this was the only time Sinatra sang the song.

Porter's ironic reckoning with dusty moral apostles has everything that has always characterized a classic Porter song: wit, both musically and lyrically clever lyrics, swing and flair. The great rhyming verses “pray”, so to speak, after the timeless prejudices of the old-fashioned (“everything has gone bad today”) and at the same time reduce them to absurdity, because the song was part of a Broadway show, which was about a lot more than just showing "a glimpse of stocking": In the original Merman sang the song together with four more than handsome tightly clad sailor dancers. Something like this was still rejected by conservative tastes in the thirties (just as there was still something “disreputable” about "swing" at the time, it was Benny Goodman who finally did away with it in Carnegie Hall in 1938).

A celebration for Sinatra and Riddle to set such a song to music, and this is what their recording turned out to be. Riddle's moderate beat, which gives the many first-class instrumentalists in the orchestra space for swinging accents, carries Sinatra effortlessly into practically every nuance of the text at the vocal climax of his career, which (as always with Porter) still fits the rhythm perfectly in every single syllable . You can hardly do better as a cover singer!

Bernhard Vogel for Sinatra - The Main Event


Everything goes
(Anything goes)

In olden times there was a flashing stocking
felt as something shocking,
today heaven knows:
Everything is possible!

Even good authors who once knew better words
use only vulgar expressions today,
when they write their prose:
Everything is possible!

The world has gone crazy these days
and the good is bad these days
and black is white these days
and the day is night these days
when most guys these days
that women find great these days,
are just silly gigolos.

Though I'm not a great romantic
I know that you will definitely answer
when I propose (OR: when I propose to you):
Everything is possible!

Before this record comes to an end, may I say:
I want you to know,
everything is possible!

© Translation: Andreas Bergmann & Bernhard Vogel for Sinatra - The Main Event


CAPITOL studio shot from January 16, 1956
Recorded on January 16, 1956 in Hollywood, KHJ Studios
Arrangement: Nelson Riddle
Orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle:
Mannie Klein, Conrad Gozzo, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Mickey Mangano (trumpet); Jimmy Priddy, Milt Bernhart; Juan Tizol (trumpet); George Roberts (bass trombone); Willie Schwartz, Harry Klee (alto saxophone, clarinet); Justin Gordon, James Williamson (tenor saxophone); Mort Friedman (baritone saxophone); David Frisina, Harold Dicterow, Felix Slatkin, Paul Shure, Mischa Russell, Paul Nero, Victor Bay, Alex Beller, Henry Hill, Marshall Sosson (violin); Maxine Johnson, Milton Thomas, Alvin Dinkin (viola); Eleanor Slatkin, Cy Bernard, Ennio Bolognini (cello); Kathryn Julye (harp); Bill Miller (piano); George van Eps (guitar); Joe Comfort (bass); Irving Cottler (drums); Frank Flynn (percussion).
First release / Album / LP / CD: Songs For Swinging Lovers (Capitol) first published March 5, 1956
LP / CD: Sings The Select Cole Porter (Capitol) first published in 1966