The Lady Is a Tramp

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This article is about the song from the musical Babes In Arms. For the TV series, see The Lady Is a Tramp (TV series). For the Spice Girls song, see Spiceworld (album).
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
Song from Babes in Arms
Published 1937
Writer Lorenz Hart
Composer Richard Rodgers

"The Lady Is a Tramp" is a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. This song is a spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is "I get too hungry for dinner at eight..."). It has become a popular standard.

Original Lyrics[edit]

VERSE

I've wined and dined on Mulligan stew
And never wished for turkey
As I hitched and hiked and grifted, too,
From Maine to Albuquerque.
Alas, I missed the Beaux Arts Ball,
And what is twice as sad,
I was never at a party
Where they honored Noel Ca'ad.
But social circles spin too fast for me.
My Hobohemia is the place to be.

REFRAIN 1

I get too hungry for dinner at eight
I like the theater but never come late
I never bother with people I hate
That's why the lady is a tramp
I don't like crapgames with Barons and Earls
Won't go to Harlem in ermine and pearls
Won't dish the dirt with the rest of the girls
That's why the lady is a tramp
I like the free fresh wind in my hair
Life without care
I'm broke, it's oke
Hates California is cold and is damp
That's why the lady is a tramp

REFRAIN 2

I go to Coney-the beach is divine.
I go to ball games-the bleachers are fine.
I follow Winchell and read ev'ry line.
That's why the lady is a tramp.
I like a prizefight that isn't a fake.
I love the rowing on Central Park Lake.
I go to opera and stay wide awake.
That's why the lady is a tramp.
I like the green grass under my shoes.
What can I lose?
I'm flat! That's that!
I'm all alone when I lower my lamp.
That's why the lady is a tramp.

REFRAIN 3 (reprise)

Don't know the reason for cocktails at five.
I don't like flying-I'm glad I'm alive.
I crave affection, but not when I drive.
That's why the lady is a tramp.
Folks go to London and leave me behind.
I'll miss the crowning, Queen Mary won't mind.
I don't play Scarlett in Gone With the Wind-
That' s why the lady is a tramp.
I like to hang my hat where I please.
Sail with the breeze.
No dough-heigh-ho!
I love La Guardia and think he's a champ.
That' s why the lady is a tramp.

REFRAIN 4 (reprise)

Girls get massages, they cry and they moan.
Tell Lizzie Arden to leave me alone.
I'm not so hot, but my shape is my own.
That's why the lady is a tramp!
The food at Sardi's is perfect, no doubt.
I wouldn't know what the Ritz is about.
I drop a nickel and coffee comes out.
That's why the lady is a tramp!
I like the sweet, fresh rain in my face.
Diamonds and lace,
No got-so what?

Explanation[edit]

The lyrics are about a woman who has her own priorities in life and who is not interested to play with New York high society stereotypes. Hence she is dismissed as a Tramp.[1] The original lyrics are more explicit than subsequent versions and portrait dated references to mid '30s New York urban life and culture.

  • Fiorello La Guardia was elected mayor of New York Mayor in 1933 and obviously his electoral base was not the Manhattan elite but the middle-class (Italian and German immigrants, Jews, some Democrats and Socialists ...)
  • George VI and Queen Elizabeth's coronation was in 1937 and most of Manhattan elite (the people who played with Earls and Barons) was interested in the ceremony in London.
  • Mulligan stew, is a dish said to have been prepared by American hobos in camps in the early 1900s.
  • Ritz hotel is a New York luxury hotel on Central Park.
  • Sardi's is a New York restaurant that opened in 1927 in 234 West 44th Street (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, where still is).
  • Noël Coward was a British actor and director, very popular in '30s. He is known for his sophisticated comedies and influence on American culture.
  • Coney Island and the lake in Central Park are popular places for New York mid-class amusements.
  • Walter Winchell was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator.
  • Elizabeth Arden built a cosmetics empire in the United States.
  • Beaux Arts Ball was held in 1931, in New York, when famous architects dressed up as their buildings.
  • Dinner at Eight quote is self-explanatory but also the title of a 1933 movie: a comedy of manners about the life of a high class New York magnate family, inviting at dinner some Peers from England (Lord and Lady Ferncliffe) as a sign of social distinction, but the dinner turned out in disaster.

Versions[edit]

Early recordings from 1937 include one by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (featuring Edythe Wright on vocals), Midge Williams and Her Jazz Jesters, Sophie Tucker, and Bernie Cummins on the Vocalion records label (#3714). Lena Horne recorded the song with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Orchestra on March 30, 1948. Her performance appeared in the film, Words and Music, a fictionalized biography of the partnership of Rodgers and Hart. The song was also used in the film version of Pal Joey starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. Joey Evans (Sinatra) sings the song to Vera Simpson (Hayworth) as he tries to entice the wealthy widow Simpson into financing Evans's dream of owning his own night club. It was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald in 1950s and Shirley Bassey in the 1960s, becoming a signature song for each of them. Buddy Greco's version was a million seller in the 50s. Deana Martin, daughter of Dean Martin, recorded “The Lady Is A Tramp” in 2006. The song was released on the album “Memories Are Made Of This” in 2006 by Big Fish Records.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duet[edit]

"The Lady Is a Tramp"
Single by Tony Bennett featuring Lady Gaga
from the album Duets II
Released October 3, 2011
Format Digital download, airplay
Recorded March 23, 2011
Abbey Road Studios
Genre Swing, jazz, pop
Length 3:18
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Tony Bennett singles chronology
"Body and Soul"
(2011)
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
(2011)
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore"
(2011)
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Yoü and I"
(2011)
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
(2011)
"Marry the Night"
(2011)

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded a version of this song for his 2011 album Duets II. Bennett praised Gaga's performance in the song, saying that she is a real "jazz lady". They performed the song live on ABC's Thanksgiving special dedicated to, written, directed, produced and hosted by Gaga entitled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving.[2] They were the opening number, singing next to an old piano in a casual obscure room.[3] Gaga played the part of a "tramp" with class and style Bennett said, "I see in Lady Gaga a touch of theatrical genius, she is very creative and very productive, I think as time goes on she might be America's Picasso. I think she's going to become as big as Elvis Presley." [4] The song, even though not officially released got to enter the Japan Hot 100, where it has managed to enter the top 40 and it has also entered the top 200 extension to the UK Singles Chart.[5][6]

Following the single, Bennett drew a sketch of Gaga naked for the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, which was then auctioned for $30,000. The money raised went to charity, supporting the Exploring the Arts (ETA) and Born This Way Foundation.[7]

The song as well as the video received critical acclaim for the vocals of both Bennett and Gaga as well as for the simplicity of the video, which departs from Gaga's usual efforts. The song received praise from both E![8] and MTV.[9] Other critics expressed hopes that Gaga would release her own jazz music after this successful effort.[10] The duo filmed a music video for the track.[9][11] The video shows Bennett and Gaga singing "The Lady Is a Tramp" together in a studio in front of music stands. The video, like the song's lyrical content, received largely positive critical reception. [12] [9] [13]


Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download
  1. "The Lady Is a Tramp" – 3:18

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[14] 16
Japan Hot 100[5] 33
UK Singles Chart[6] 188
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[15] 21

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format
United States[16] September 20, 2011 Digital download
France[17] October 3, 2011
United Kingdom[18] November 5, 2011 Mainstream radio

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://sinatrafamily.com/forum/frank-sinatra-8/can-someone-explain-lyrics-lady-tramp-10750/
  2. ^ "'A Very Gaga Thanksgiving': 5 Things We Want to See". Aoltv.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2011-11-04). "Lady Gaga To Host Thanksgiving Special". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  4. ^ "New Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – "The Lady Is A Tramp" Video". The Audio Perv. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.billboard.com/artist/430193/tony+bennett/chart
  6. ^ a b Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK – Update 15.10.2011". Zobbel. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  7. ^ Fair, Vanity. "Tony Bennett's Nude Lady Gaga Sketch Auctioned for $30,000". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  8. ^ "Lady Gaga "Tramps" It Up With Tony Bennett in New Music Video". E! Online. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  9. ^ a b c 08/18/2011 19:33:21 (2011-10-03). "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett 'Tramp' It Up In New Video – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  10. ^ "Lady Gaga Is A Broadway Baby On Tony Bennett Duet "The Lady Is A Tramp" | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on". Idolator.com. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  11. ^ "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett unveil 'The Lady Is a Tramp' video – Music News". Digital Spy. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  12. ^ "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ [Video]". Fresh1027.radio.com. 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  13. ^ "The Lady Is A Tramp [Video] – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga". HypeTune.com. 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  14. ^ "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – The Lady Is A Tramp". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  15. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles: Week Ending June 11, 2011". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  16. ^ "The Lady Is A Tramp: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – The Lady Is A Tramp". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  18. ^ "BBC – Radio 2 – Playlist – Week Commencing: November 5, 2011". BBC Radio 2. November 5, 2011. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. 

External links[edit]