Puttin' on the Ritz
"Puttin' on the Ritz" is a popular song written and published in 1929 by Irving Berlin and introduced by Harry Richman in the musical film Puttin' on the Ritz (1930). The title derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz," meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the swanky Ritz Hotel.
The song is in AABA form, with a verse. According to John Mueller, the central device in the A section is the "use of delayed rhythmic resolution: a staggering, off-balance passage, emphasized by the unorthodox stresses in the lyric, suddenly resolves satisfyingly on a held note, followed by the forceful assertion of the title phrase." The marchlike B section, which is only barely syncopated, acts as a contrast to the previous rhythmic complexities. According to Alec Wilder, in his study of American popular song, the rhythmic pattern in "Puttin' on the Ritz" is "the most complex and provocative I have ever come upon."
The original version of Berlin's song included references to the then-popular fad of flashily-dressed but poor black Harlemites parading up and down Lenox Avenue, "Spending ev'ry dime / For a wonderful time". The song was featured with the original lyrics in the 1939 film Idiot's Delight, where it was performed by Clark Gable and chorus, and this routine was selected for inclusion in That's Entertainment (1974). Columbia released a 78 recording of Fred Astaire singing the original lyrics in 1930. For the film Blue Skies (1946), where it was performed by Fred Astaire, Berlin revised the lyrics to apply to affluent whites strutting "up and down Park Avenue."
Hit phonograph records of the tune in its original popularity of 1929–1930 were recorded by Harry Richman and Fred Astaire, with whom the song is particularly associated. Every other record label had their own version of this popular song (Columbia, Brunswick, Victor, and all of the dime store labels).
Taco cover version 
|"Puttin' on the Ritz"|
|Single by Taco|
|from the album After Eight|
|B-side||"Livin' in My Dream World"|
|Genre||New Wave, synthpop|
|Taco singles chronology|
A synthesized pop version by Taco peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1983 and certified Gold by the RIAA. It was released from his LP After Eight. It includes a tap dance solo in the middle to honor Astaire. This version of the song was ranked #53 in VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s special.
Various cover versions 
This tune has enjoyed a number of revivals including:
- A hit swing music version by Benny Goodman in 1939
- An Ella Fitzgerald version, also in a swing music style.
- A song and dance routine by Clark Gable in 1939's Idiot's Delight (film)
- A song and dance number performed by Fred Astaire in the 1946 film Blue Skies using the revised lyrics.
- A humorous duet in Mel Brooks' 1974 film Young Frankenstein, performed in character by Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and Peter Boyle as the inarticulate monster, which parodies Fred Astaire's 1946 film version. This version would later be used in the 2007 musical adaptation of the same name. In Family Guy, this scene was further parodied, with the chorus of the song being sung by Stewie and a zombified Chris Griffin, in the episode "The Story on Page One".
- Alvin and the Chipmunks covered Taco's version of the song (see above) for "Don't Be a Videot", a 1984 episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
- Neil Diamond covered the song on his 1998 album, The Movie Album: As Time Goes By.
- A song by Shiny Toy Guns on the first version of their album We Are Pilots in 2005 called just "Ritz"
- A speed metal cover was performed by the Finnish band Leningrad Cowboys in 2006 on their album Zombies Paradise.
- The original song was also covered by Rufus Wainwright in 2007 on his album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall.
- The Mighty Diamonds covered this song, with some variations, on a 1988 12" produced by reggae producer Ossie Hibbert.
- The Taco version of the song was used in Baby Geniuses (1999)
- The song is also used in the title music for the Game Boy game Super Hunchback.
- The song is performed by Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) in the 1990–1993 ITV Jeeves and Wooster TV series. The character at first struggles to sing the verses, until Jeeves (Stephen Fry) points out the song's peculiar time signature and syncopated delivery.
- The Taco version of the song was used in the movie, The Call (2013).
- In Being Human, Hal covers this song for a humorous effect when waking up the vampires.
- Mueller, John (1986). Astaire Dancing - The Musical Films. London: Hamish Hamilton. p. 267. ISBN 0-241-11749-6.
- Mueller, p.267, quoting Wilder
- Mueller, p.267: "In the original version it told of the ritzy airs of Harlemites parading up and down Lenox Avenue. For the 1946 film, the strutters became well-to-do whites on Park Avenue. The patronizing, yet admiring satire of the song is shifted, then, and mellowed in the process. The change may have had to do with changing attitudes towards race and with Hollywood's dawning wariness about offending blacks."
- http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1858, Retrieved on 2009-06-25.
- The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits - Joel Whitburn - Google Boeken
- PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ - Lyrics - International Lyrics Playground