Sunday respite: ‘Anything Goes’


This particular piece seems a good choice this week for a Sunday respite. Lyrics included.

Anything Goes” is a song written by Cole Porter for his musical Anything Goes (1934). Many of the lyrics feature humorous (but dated)[1] references to various figures of scandal and gossip in Depression-era high society. For example, one couplet refers to Sam Goldwyn’s notorious box-office failure Nana, which 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).[2] Other 1930s society references include film producer Max Gordon, socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean and her highly promoted trip to the Russian SFSR, interior design pioneer Lady Mendl‘s scandalous predilection for performing hand stands and cartwheels in public at the age of 70, and the financial woes common to “old money” families during the Depression, such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Whitneys. Most modern versions omit these lyrics, replacing them instead with generic examples of social upheaval.[3]

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.

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 at nudist parties in
Studios.
Anything goes.

When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
Can get Russian reds to “yes” her,
Then I suppose
Anything goes.
When Rockefeller still can hoard enough 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 clothes,
Anything goes.

When 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 trimmings,
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
‘Cause Franklin knows
Anything goes.

One Response to “Sunday respite: ‘Anything Goes’”

  1. My Article Read (7-12-2015) | My Daily Musing Says:

    […] Sunday respite: ‘Anything Goes’ […]

    Liked by 1 person


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