“Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose.”

Cole Porter cranked out a lot of content in his time. Hell, in any time

I thought Søren Kierkegaard cranked out a lot of content without the use of a word processor of any kind in his short time. Cole Porter cranked out lyrics and music to most all of his works throughout his many, many years. And his string of hits is impressive. We’re talking about 881 songs, many with multiple parts for musicians, singers, and actors. That’s not counting being credited for the following:

  • At least 24 musicals
  • At least 9 film scores

That’s some serious content.

Experimental as Hell, especially for the times

Cole Porter really pushed the boundaries of social acceptance – well, at least in the US. For example, he wrote “Anything Goes,” in 1934-1936-ish, and 20 years later, when they did the movie starring Bing Crosby, they changed the following couplet:

“Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose.”


“Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use three-letter words writing prose.”

Because, God Knows, Hollywood couldn’t admit to knowing four-letter words in the 1950s. I’m surprised Bill and Gabby were allowed to admit they “made love,” without having first tied the not. It guess it’s okay because it was with a French girl on a cruise.

Early precursor to jazz and blues


Imagine what would have happened if the Bible Belt would have learned about Porter’s more extravagant activities. Hopefully, he was considered trailblazer ahead of his time for following generations such as Elton John and his exploits, down to the piano roll.

Someone had to start breaking down stereotypes. I’m hoping to find out it was him.

Indiana boy

Cole Porter is a fellow Hoosier. Born in Peru, Indiana. Indiana usually gets dissed for its lack of creative contributions, but when you factor in Cole Porter, John Mellencamp, Michael, Janet and the Jacksons – even Axl Rose was from Indiana – and folks like Kurt Vonnegut who wrote much while there, there’s enough to hold its own. That’s not including James Dean, Jim Davis…

It’s essentially a back-home obligation to start with a fellow Hoosier.

Hoosier hospitality from across the globe and periods of history.

But, mostly, I think I was first truly introduced to his roll piano in Junior High by our professor, Mr. Butt.

Yes. That was his name. I was fascinated by how one could make a piano roll like Porter but I was too chickenshit to inquire more. I was too afraid I was too much of a jock and too son-of-the-town-drunk embarrassed to ask to start piano lessons, “so late in life,” even though my grandparents had a baby grand piano in their dining room a mile away. So, I sat back, listened, and remembered how it sounded.

Sadly, at the moment…

I think Cole Porter’s influence won’t be direct in the first book of my series. Indirect? Sure, but not direct. It’s a pain in the ass because I’m kind of marveling about him at the moment. I’m watching a YouTube copy of the 1956 movie of “Anything Goes” at the moment:

But for the characters of the first book, I’m going to have to switch gears back to Robert Johnson and Robert Guillaume and The Record Plant…

When I’m done with the first draft of the first book and am moved on to the second one, I’ll be deep diving into Cole Porter, and I’ll update this page, and write a few more. I’m hoping this little leaking of obsession will let me go back to listening and researching. Though I might have to write a little more about, “Anything Goes,” before I switch back. Just a little taste. 🙂

photo credit of Cole Porter and Ed Sullivan: commons.wikimedia.org under creative commons for use with modification rights

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