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PUTTING ON THE RITZ (Irving Berlin) Fred Astaire Also recorded by: Alfredo & his Band; Kenny Baker; Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen; Irving Berlin; Bing Crosby; Neil Diamond; Ella Fitzgerald; Clark Gable; Judy Garland; Benny Goodman; Stephane Grappelli; Johnny Mathis; The Pasadena Roof Orch.; André Previn; The Swingle Singers; Taco; Mel Tormé; ..... and others. Have you seen the well to do ? Up and down Park Avenue ? On that famous thoroughfare, With their noses in the air ? High hats and arrowed collars, Wide spats and fifteen dollars. Spending every dime, For a wonderful time ! If you're blue and you don' know, Where to go to, why don't you go, Where fashion sits ? Putting On The Ritz. Different types, who wear a day, Co-pants with stripes, and cut away, Coat, perfect fits ? Putting On The Ritz. Dressed up like a million dollar trooper, Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper. Super-duper ! Come, let's mix where Rockerfellas, Walk with sticks, or umbrellas, In their mitts. Putting On The Ritz. Spangled gowns upon a beauty of hand-me-downs, on clown and cutie, All misfits. Putting On The Ritz. Tips his hat just like an English chappie, To a lady with the wealthy happy. Very Snappy ! You'll declare it's simply topping, To be there, and hear them swapping, Smart titbits. Putting On the Ritz (3x) !! ***** PUTTING ON THE RITZ *The lyrics Gable sang for MGM, Berlin's first set of lyrics (he revised them later because of the racial references in the first draft)* Have you seen the well to do up on Lennox Avenue? On that famous thoroughfare with their noses in the air High hats and arrow collar white spats and lots of dollars Spending ev'ry dime for a wonderful time If you're blue and you don't know where to go to why don't you go where Harlem sits Putting on the Ritz Spangled gowns upon the bevee of high browns from down the levee, all misfits Putting on the Ritz. That's where each and ev'ry Lulu-belle goes. Ev'ry Thursday evening with her swell beaus rubbing elbows Come with me and we'll attend the jubilee and see them spend their last two bits Putting on the Ritz. *The original verse was omitted from the film, but it's included above. As for the different lyrics, some explanations : Lennox Avenue - A main thoroughfare in Harlem (Park Ave is on the east side and inhabited by rich white folks) High browns - a variation of the phase high yellow, referring to someone of mixed racial background, usually with the inferrance that they're putting on airs beyond their social station. Lulu-Belle - a generic nickname for a black maid Ev'ry Thursday evening - Thursday was, typically, the maid's night off Basically, the jist of the song is that a nice way for the white folk to spend an evening is to go up to Harlem and watch their servants get dressed up, go out on the town and blow all their pay. Sort of explains why no one does these lyrics and why Berlin was more than happy to revise them. (Contributed by Debbie Davis - August 2002) *****


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