Love for Sale
February 6, 2014 3:40 PM   Subscribe

"Love for Sale" is a song by Cole Porter, from the musical The New Yorkers which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931. The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising various kinds of "love for sale": "Old love, new love, every love but true love". Originally considered in bad taste, even scandalous. In the initial Broadway production, it was performed by Kathryn Crawford, portraying a streetwalker. As a response to the criticism, the song was transferred from the white Crawford to the African American singer Elisabeth Welch. Despite the fact the song was banned from radio airplay, or perhaps because of it, it became a hit, with Libby Holman's version going to #5 and "Fred Waring's version (NSFW) going to #14, both in 1931. Other notable recordings since include: Frances Faye 1955, Billie Holiday 1956, Ella Fitzgerald 1956, Miles Davis 1959, Cannonball Adderley 1959, Eartha kitt 1965, Boney M. 1977, Elvis Costello 1981, Maude Maggart 2003, Jamie Cullum 2013

Love for sale
Appetizing, young love for sale.
Love that's fresh and still unspoiled.
Love that's only slighty soiled.
Love for sale.
Who will buy?
Who will like to sample my supply?
Who's prepared to pay the price
For a trip to paradise?
Love for sale.
Let the poets pipe of love
In their childish way.
I know every type of love
Better far than they.
If you want the thrill of love
I've been through the mill of love.
Old love. New love.
Every love, but true love.

Love for sale.
Appetizing young love for sale.
If you want to buy my wares,
Follow me and climb the stairs.
Love for sale.
posted by Lanark (23 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Shirley Horn 1963 is my favorite.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 3:48 PM on February 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

No collection would be complete without the rat-pack infused song styling of Bobby Darin.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:00 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll just throw in the Fine Young Cannibals version, as the Red Hot + Blue compilation is so great, and helped foster my love of Cole Porter.
posted by IAmDrWorm at 4:17 PM on February 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Anita O'Day, also from 1963.

paired with

Dianne Reeves on Sunday Night/Night Music
posted by the sobsister at 4:26 PM on February 6, 2014

One of Cole Porter's best lyrics.

I've always been fond of this somewhat idiosyncratic rendition by Fine Young Cannibals.

And, though I've seen Simply Red much derided round these parts (sometimes justifiably, sometimes not), this accapella live version is pretty damn gorgeous.
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:27 PM on February 6, 2014

Art Tatum 1955
posted by Vitamaster at 4:30 PM on February 6, 2014

I don't have time to hunt on youtube right now but any list of covers of this song that doesn't include Harvey Fierstein's amazing rendition is incomplete.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2014

Here it is, it's fantastic: he is a national treasure
posted by PinkMoose at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Caetano Veloso
posted by neroli at 5:01 PM on February 6, 2014

Buddy Rich
posted by thelonius at 5:22 PM on February 6, 2014

Thanks, PinkMoose.

A drag queen I knew a million years ago used to do that song in drag. 'Fierce' doesn't even begin to describe it.

(She'd also do Svelte off the same album and forcefeed herself Twinkies onstage but I guess that was a bit different.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:35 PM on February 6, 2014

Cecil Taylor!
posted by cobra libre at 8:29 PM on February 6, 2014

I love this type of post, simple sharing of appreciation for a piece of music. A nice antidote for some of the wrangling I just read in Metatalk!
posted by Agave at 9:19 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about Chet Baker Trio.
posted by The Potate at 11:04 PM on February 6, 2014

Wow, thanks for some great context for a song I've heard dozens of times on the Manhattan Transfer's Pastiche album.
A strangely sweet, upbeat, country-ish arrangement, with a 1:40 instrumental introduction.

In Googling for this comment, I also learned that original ManTran member Lauren Massé is the granddaughter of Fred Waring's lead baritone. How about that?
posted by LEGO Damashii at 11:21 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

The first time I ever heard this swell tune was a swinging version by Vic Damone. I don't see a YT link for it.
posted by ovvl at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2014

The fantastic Frank Sintara Jr. Scopitone version.
posted by pizzaslut at 8:39 AM on February 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pan's People on the Benny Hill Show
posted by rfs at 8:57 AM on February 7, 2014

I wouldn't even know the song but for Tony Bennett recording it for his I Left My Heart IN SAN FRANCISCO LP from 1962.
posted by Rash at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2014

Thanks, Vitamaster. That Art Tatum version was a real revelation. OMG.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:39 AM on February 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chevy Chase, Vacation? Anyone? Huh? Oh wait, no not really, just a one-liner, but funny, and worth the mention, especially having just watched that goofy Frank Sinatra Jr. video.
posted by Ralph at 3:45 PM on February 8, 2014

posted by Ralph at 4:08 PM on February 8, 2014

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