Cole Porter

Cole Porter Autograph Lyrics, "Looking At You"

Cole Porter autograph lyrics, "Looking At You"

 

Song lyrics written entirely in the hand of American songwriter and composer Cole Porter (1891-1964), found on the back of a blank Princess Hotel (Paris, France) telegram form. The 29-line song is inscribed in pencil and features an AAAB rhyming scheme. Undated, but ca. 1928. In very good to near fine condition, with some well-worn folds. The sheet measures 5.75" x 10.75".

 

This early draft of "Looking At You" lyrics is reproduced below, with Porter's original spelling and spacing:

 

"Looking at you, while troubles are fleeing, / I'm admiring the view, 'cause its you I'm seeing, / And the sweet honey-dew of well-being / Settles upon me. / What is this light that shines when you enter / Like a star in the night, + what's to prevent her / From destroying my sight, if you center / All of it on me? / Looking at you, I'm filled / with the essence of / the quintessence of / joy. / Looking at you, I hear poets tellin' of / Lovely Helen of / Troy. / Darling, life seemed so grey / I wanted to end it / 'Till that wonderful day, you / started to mend it, / And if you'll only stay then / I'll spend it / Looking at you."


The final lyrics of "Looking At You" resemble almost exactly this early draft, with a few minuscule changes: "Looking at you / While troubles are fleeing / I'm admiring the view / 'Cause it's you I'm seeing / And the sweet honeydew / Of wellbeing settles upon me / What is this light / That shines when you enter / Like a star in the night / And what's to prevent 'er / From destroying my sight / If you center all of it on me / Looking at you / I'm filled with the essence of / The quintessence of joy / Looking at you / I hear poets tellin' of / Lovely Helen of Troy, darling / Life seemed so grey / I wanted to end it / Till that wonderful day / You started to mend it / And if you'll only stay / Then I'll spend it looking at you."

 

"Looking At You" was first performed in a 1928 Parisian nightclub production called the Revue des Ambassadeurs, with cast members Clifton Webb and Dorothy Dickson. The song was so popular that Porter later included it in his 1929 London and Broadway musical Wake Up and Dream, where it was sung by Jessie Matthews. This last production was celebrated for its hit "What Is This Thing Called Love?" as well as its complex and costumed choreography.

 

"Looking at You" was apparently not the original number that Webb was intended to perform in the Revue des Ambassadeurs. In an undated ALS to Webb from Porter on Carlton Hotel (Lyon, France) stationery, the composer wrote: "Dear Clifton -- I am sending you the refrain of your song. You should have a copy made by Olivier, chez Durand, music shop, Place de la Madeleine. He is the head copyist there. Keep one copy for rehearsal & give the other to Tom Waring & pet him into doing it for his band. I will send the verse and the lyric as soon as finished. Also tell Leteutre[?, Sayag's secretary, to put this on the program -- this title Maid of Mystery. And when you have done all these things, take your finger and stick it up your ass. My address is Chateau de Gourdon, Gourdon-par-le-Bar, Alpes Maritines. Goodbye & love to all my playthings. Cole. Saturday morning."

 

Cole Porter was a classically trained musician who composed music and lyrics for Broadway and Hollywood alike. Porter's musical output was prolific during the late 1920s and 1930s. He averaged between one to three smashes almost every year between 1928 and 1939, some hits appearing in the same musical. While his Broadway career peaked in the 1930s, with the aberration of Kiss Me, Kate in 1948, Porter continued composing movie scores well into the late 1950s.

 

A good friend of Porter's for decades, Webb worked mostly as a singer and dancer on Broadway in the 1920s and 30s before his film career blossomed in the forties in such Oscar-nominated movies as Laura (1944), The Razor's Edge (1946), and Sitting Pretty (1948). He won a Golden Globe Award in 1947 for his performance in The Razor's Edge.

 

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Item: 64463

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Cole Porter
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