You Took Advantage of Me

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"You Took Advantage of Me"
Song from Present Arms
Published 1928
Writer Lorenz Hart
Composer Richard Rodgers

"You Took Advantage of Me" is a 1928 popular song composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, for the musical Present Arms (1928), where it was introduced by Joyce Barbour and Busby Berkeley[1] as the characters Edna Stevens and Douglas Atwell.[2] The characters were formerly married, but still have romantic feelings for each other.[3] On opening night, Berkeley forgot the lyrics and had to scat and hum the entire second verse.[4] Berkeley also claimed that his nonsense lyrics for the improvised second verse left Hart "almost apoplectic", but the audience was amused and Hart later forgave him.[3] The song was subsequently included in the 1930 film Leathernecking, an adaptation of Present Arms.[3]

Rodgers described the song as a "sassy and unregretful number" which audiences liked far more than traditional contemporary love songs.[5] In his book The Poets of Tin Pan Alley, Philip Furia wrote that the song depicted a "...wittily self deprecating character who was perfectly suited to lyrics that were at once intricately rhymed yet casually conversational."[5]

One of the earliest recordings of the song was Paul Whiteman's 1928 hit version, known especially for the performances of Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer.[6][7] The song was a particular favorite of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII). In fact, he once asked singer Morton Downey to perform the song eleven times during a show at the Café de Paris in London.[8][9][10][11] The song can be sung by either gender, but has traditionally been sung by women.[5]

Notable recordings[edit]


  1. ^ Present Arms - IBDB: The official source for Broadway information
  2. ^ IBDB Home Page Present Arms Production Songs
  3. ^ a b c Gary Marmorstein (16 July 2013). A Ship Without A Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart. Simon and Schuster. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-1-4165-9426-0. 
  4. ^ Jeffrey Spivak, Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley (University Press of Kentucky, 2011), ISBN 978-0813126432, p. 37. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  5. ^ a b c Philip Furia (11 October 1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley : A History of America's Great Lyricists: A History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-0-19-802288-6. 
  6. ^ David A. Jasen, Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song Author (Routledge, 2003), ISBN 978-1135949013, p. 176. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  7. ^ Scott Yanow, Jazz on Record: The First Sixty Years (Backbeat Books, 2003), ISBN 978-0879307554, p. 75. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  8. ^ "Richard Rodgers: Stage Musicals", Billboard, October 7, 1950, p. 88.
  9. ^ Brian Kellow, The Bennetts: An Acting Family (University Press of Kentucky, 2004), ISBN 978-0813123295, p. 129. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  10. ^ "Downey rises as TV Star". Long Beach Independent. 16 October 1949. p. 80. Retrieved 2 September 2014 – via open access publication - free to read
  11. ^ "Broadway". Fitchburg Sentinel. 2 April 1951. p. 7. Retrieved 2 September 2014 – via open access publication - free to read
  12. ^ allmusic ((( Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook [Vol. 1 - Overview ))) ]
  13. ^ Al Hirt, That Honey Horn Sound Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  14. ^ Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette | My Foolish Heart
  15. ^ allmusic ((( Free Again! > Overview )))
  16. ^ allmusic ((( The Supremes Sings Rodgers & Hart [The Complete Recordings > Overview ))) ]