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Porter-ology Quiz: How Well Do You Know Cole Porter's Music?

Porter-ology Quiz: How Well Do You Know Cole Porter's Music?


Another op'nin', another show

In Philly, Boston or Baltimoe,

A chance for stage folks to say "hello"

Another op'nin' of another show.


On June 9th, 125 years ago, the American popular music composer Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana. Choosing music as a profession defied the wishes of his grandfather who wanted him to be a lawyer. Though classically trained, he was drawn toward musical theatre. He began to achieve success in the 1920s, and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage. Unlike many other successful Broadway composers, Porter wrote the lyrics, as well as the music, for his songs. Let’s test your Porter knowledge. Can you match these lyrics with their titles? (Answer Key at the end of this blog.)


A) Anything Goes B) Begin the Beguine C) Brush up your Shakespeare D) C'est Magnifique! E) Friendship F)I Love Paris

G) In the Still of the Night H) I’ve Got You Under My Skin I) My Heart Belongs to Daddy J) Night and Day L)


1)    Every time I look down on this timeless town, whether blue or gray be her skies. Whether loud be her cheers or soft be her tears, more and more do I realize:

(Hint: Written in 1953, the song was introduced by Lilo in the musical “Can-Can”.)


2) I was a humdrum person

Leading a life apart

When love flew in through my window wide

And quickened my hum-drum heart

Love flew in through my window

I was so happy then

But after love had stayed a little while

Love flew out again 

(Hint: Written in 1929 for the musical “Wake Up and Dream”, it was first performed by Elsie Carlisle.)


3) When love comes in

And takes you for a spin,

Ooh-la-la-la –

(Hint: Also written for the 1953 musical “Can-Can”, where it was introduced by Lilo and Peter Cookson.)


4) 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. 

(Hint: This song is also the title of this 1934 musical and was written for Ethel Merman.)


5) While tearing off a game of golf

I may make a play for the caddy

But when I do, I don't follow through…

(Hint: This song was written for the 1938 musical “Leave It to Me” and was originally performed by Mary Martin.)


6) It brings back the sound of music so tender,

It brings back a night of tropical splendor,

It brings back a memory evergreen.

I'm with you once more under the stars,

And down by the shore an orchestra's playing

And even the palms seem to be swaying

(Hint: Porter composed the song between Kalabahi, Indonesia, and Fiji during a 1935 Pacific cruise aboard Cunard's ocean liner Franconia. June Knight first sang it in the Broadway musical “Jubilee”.)


7) You're the Coliseum.

You're the Louvre Museum.

You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss

You're a Bendel bonnet,

A Shakespeare's sonnet,

You're Mickey Mouse.

You're the Nile,

You're the Tower of Pisa,

You're the smile on the Mona Lisa

I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,

But if, baby, I'm the bottom

(Hint: Porter wrote this for a musical in 1934 and it was first sung by Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney and William Gaxton as Billy Crocker.)


8) The girls today in society go for classical poetry

So to win their hearts one must quote with ease

Aeschylus and Euripides

One must know Homer, and believe me, Beau

Sophocles, also Sappho-ho

Unless you know Shelley and Keats and Pope

Dainty Debbies will call you a dope.

(Hint: From the 1948 musical, “Kiss Me, Kate” that won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical.)


9) Why is it so

That this longing for you follows wherever I go?

In the roaring traffic's boom

In the silence of my lonely room

I think of you

(Hint: Fred Astaire introduced it in the 1932 musical play “Gay Divorce”.)


10) I would sacrifice anything come what might

For the sake of having you near

In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night

And repeats in my ear

Don't you know you fool you never can win

Use your mentality, wake up to reality

But each time I do, just the thought of you

Makes me stop before I begin

(Hint: Written in 1936, the song was performed by Virginia Bruce in the MGM film musical “Born to Dance”.)


11) Do you love me, as I love you?

Are you my life to be, my dream come true?

Or will this dream of mine fade out of sight

Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill

(Hint: Written in 1937 for the MGM film “Rosalie” and sung by Nelson Eddy.)


12) If you're ever down a well, ring my bell.

If you're ever up a tree, phone to me.

If you ever lose your teeth when you're out to dine, borrow mine.

(Hint: Written for the 1939 musical “DuBarry Was A Lady”, it was sung by Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman.)





Answer Key:

 1) F 

2) K

3) D

4) A

5) I

6) B

7) L

8) C

9) J

10) H

11) G

12) E 

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