Until now, the American Songbook selections I’ve shared have something in common: they are the result of collaborations between a composer and a lyricist. But in this regard, Cole Porter was unlike most of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters with whom he associated, because he wrote both the lyrics and the music for all of his songs. Like many of the composers of his era, Cole Porter was something of a prodigy. He wrote an opera at age ten. This musical precocity made Cole’s mother happy, but not his grandfather. With an eye toward preparing his grandson for a law degree, Cole’s grandfather sent him East to Worcester Academy. (Presciently, young Cole took an upright piano with him when he went!)
After graduating from Worcester as class valedictorian, Cole Porter went on to Yale, where he earned an English major and a music minor, all while developing a taste for Broadway and the New York high life, which were within easy reach of New Haven. Porter wrote 300 songs while he was at Yale,…
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