Monday, June 28, 2010

Puttin' On The Ritz

Comparative Musicology 101

In 1929 Irving Berlin wrote Puttin' On The Ritz. The title was a slang expression that meant to dress fashionably (the Ritz refers to the famous Ritz Hotel in London). In the eight decades since, it has appeared in countless movies and has been recorded by artists ranging from Benny Goodman to Rufus Wainwright. Today, we look at a few of these versions.

First up, the original version as performed by Harry Richman in 1930's Puttin' On The Ritz:

Next, Clark Gable (yes, Clark Gable) gives it a shot in 1939's Idiot's Delight:

The ultimate song and dance man Fred Astaire performed it in 1946's Blue Skies:

Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle played it for laughs in Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein:

Dutch pop star Taco Ockerse, beter known as just plain Taco, had an international hit with it in 1982:

Hugh Laurie (pre-House) as Bertie Wooster attempted it with some help from Stephen Fry as his man Jeeves in an episode of the British series Jeeves and Wooster from 1993:

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