The Lady Is a Tramp
|"The Lady Is a Tramp"|
|Song from Babes in Arms|
"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.
The lyrics are about a woman who has her priorities in order and who is not interested in material things which makes her uninteresting to highbrow types. Hence, they scorn her and dismiss her as a tramp. 
The man singing about her is defending her.
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.
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.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duet
|"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|
|Label||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Tony Bennett singles chronology|
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". The single differs from the somber theme of "Body and Soul" displayed by Bennett and Winehouse in the album's first single, with its playful back-and-forth vocal theme instead. They performed the song live on ABC's Thanksgiving special dedicated to, written, directed, produced and hosted by Gaga entitled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. They were the opening number, singing next to an old piano in a casual obscure room. Gaga played the part of a "tramp" with class and style; grabbing a red handkerchief out of Bennett's pocket, as well as taking off and showing her shoe to Bennett and then throwing it over her shoulder, were playful touches. After the song, there were clips of Lady Gaga, preparing for the show with excerpts of Bennett observations. 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," he continued. "She's absolutely brilliant with what she does. She's a very, very magnificent performer and she does know how to sing, and she does know how to play the piano. I see great things for her." "My favorite is that Lady Gaga. She's the biggest. I'll tell you, I never met anyone with more talent than that lady." 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. 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. "I walked in and said, 'Well Tony here we are,' ... and I dropped my robe, and I got into position. It was very, very nerve-wracking. I felt shy and thought, 'It's Tony Bennett, why am I naked?'" said Gaga of the experience.
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. Gina Serpe of E! commented that, "much like [Bennett's] video with Amy, this one features the two crooners belting it out and hamming it up side-by-side in a studio, with Gaga getting into full broad mode, swilling a drink, flirting with Tony and even dancing with him during the song breaks. All this with no egg incubators or skin horns in sight—the only thing the lady is displaying in this video is her talent. 'Bout time." "Of the current crop of pop superstars, perhaps none is better suited to take on "The Lady Is a Tramp" than Lady Gaga," said MTV's James Montgomery. Other critics expressed hopes that Gaga would release her own jazz music after this successful effort.
The duo filmed a music video for the track. The video shows Bennett and Gaga singing "The Lady Is a Tramp" together in a studio in front of music stands. Both wear black tie attire, with Bennett sporting a suit and Gaga donning an evening dress made up by black-colored semi-transparent lace. Despite their black clothes, each artist contrasts these with some color, as Bennett rests a red handkerchief in his breast pocket while Gaga wears a turquoise bob wig. In the beginning of the video and during occasional other scenes, Gaga holds a whiskey glass. The mood of the video is light and cheerful, as both singers smile constantly and use hand gestures and swing their arms to express happiness. Like the lyrical content, the video features a back-and-forth style, showing the two singers back and forth while their lines switch. Adding to the animation, the two make gesture and point to each other during their lines. Additional animations include Gaga pulling Bennett's red handkerchief out of his pocket in the middle of the video, holding up the tail of her dress on multiple occasions, and moving to Bennett's microphone during her "I'm so broke" line as well as for the concluding line of "that's why this lady is a tramp." Bennett meanwhile makes his own gestures, including a-ok during his line of "Jeter's just fine." At the end of the video, Gaga kisses Bennett on the cheek and he thanks her. Although the video is much simpler than Gaga's usual solo videos, her animated gestures, blue hair, and kiss on the cheek, help her to maintain some of her usual quirks.
The video, like the song's lyrical content, received largely positive critical reception. "The video seems to show two talented musicians having a good time. Bennett seems to love every minute of it, trading vocal lines, laughing when Gaga steals his handkerchief and taking her on a slow dance at the end of the song. I like the premise – two jazzy, cool cats sippin' on 30 year old scotch, sharing memories and making music. Well, if this isn’t the most charming music video of the year I don’t know what is," praised Kyle Moffatt of Fresh 102.7 radio. "Gaga plays the role to perfection, vamping and camping alongside Bennett, blue hair bobbing along to the beat," expressed James Montgomery of MTV. "In a floor-length black-lace dress, she belts out the chorus, flits and flirts through lines like "I love the free, fresh wind in my hair" and "I'm so broke" (and even professes her love for the Yankees, which probably explains her behavior at Citi Field last season) does the prerequisite pouting and even scats a bit. Bennett seems to love every minute of it, trading vocal couplets, laughing when Gaga steals his handkerchief and taking her on a slow dance at song's end. And thanks to the backing of a roaring big band, this new version of "Tramp" is not only a welcome addition to the lengthy list of cover versions, but, in some way, it takes the song into new territory too. A lot of that is thanks to Gaga, who gives her all and really, truly becomes the Tramp." Hypetune.com raved that, "[The duet] is brilliant. Sometimes, Lady Gaga really surprises us. We are used to her being different and extraordinary, so her choices oftentimes don’t “surprise” us. But, a jazz tune with Tony Bennett? Gaga has a brilliant jazz voice. One of the oddest collaborations on paper is one of the most fantastic things we’ve ever seen. The video is also wonderful. It’s a must see for all lovers of music. Check it out below. Get on the hype."
Gaga and Bennett performed "The Lady Is a Tramp" as the opening number for a special performance of Gaga's, entitled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, which was shown exclusively on ABC on November 24, 2011. Talking about the performance herself, Gaga gushed to Katie Couric, "Oh Tony he's so handsome I feel terrible whenever his wife is around because he is so charming and such a gentleman." And it appears the feeling is mutual with the 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' singer saying: "She is the most beautiful person I ever met but there is something very special about her."
The performance received positive reviews from critics and fans, with them particular praising the subdued and traditional feel Gaga brought to this special, which was directed to a family audience. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly praised that, "[the performance] was disarmingly direct, sincere, and unpretentious. Turns out happiness is a warm Gaga." "Lady Gaga put on a subdued holiday shindig for television viewers," agreed Sarah Anne Hughes of The Washington Post. "Regardless of what you thought this would be, Lady Gaga certainly pleased and surprised viewers this Thanksgiving night," said Matt's Movie Thoughts review. "She delivered herself more honestly than we usually get to see her. This is truly amazing because she knew exactly how to strike the right notes." "Set in a cabaret Gaga played the part of a "tramp" with class and style she sang with Tony," said Darla Hanger of The Examiner. "It was a delightful production. The two had great chemistry as they sang and did a 'delish' remake of the original song. Grabbing Tony's red handkerchief out of his pocket, also taking off and showing her shoe to Tony and then throwing it over her shoulder was a playful touch. Lady Gaga's accent and acting while singing was perfect. Lady Gaga is able to "jive" with the best of them." "It was very carefully laid out – warm and low-key, visually sumptuous but appropriately restrained without losing the Gaga-ness of it all," said Michael Sellers. "Other words that come to mind – direct, unpretentious, sincere, and old school (as the holidays should be), with just a touch of carefully and sparingly applied edge. [It] had what were clearly Gaga-esque touches throughout, a set that would return throughout the how and provide an interesting, holiday, velvety vibe." "That was...a tasteful, controversy-free Gaga for all in the family to enjoy on Thanksgiving. We'll gladly give a toast to that!" praised MTV's Sterling Wong. "She is unlikely to be Picasso," commented Hadley Freedman of the UK's The Guardian (in response to Bennett's comments), "but she could well turn out to be something far more interesting than one might have expected of a woman whose debut album was primarily influenced by 90s Swedish dance band Ace of Bass. Other critics stated that the success of this spectacle should make the viewing of such events become a Thanksgiving tradition for Americans.
- Digital download
- "The Lady Is a Tramp" – 3:18
|Japan Hot 100||33|
|UK Singles Chart||188|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||21|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles||21|
|United States||September 20, 2011||Digital download|
|France||October 3, 2011|
|United Kingdom||November 5, 2011||Mainstream radio|
- Lady and the Tramp (animated feature film)
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- This is truly amazing because she knew exactly how to strike the right notes
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