Anything Goes (Cole Porter song)

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"Anything Goes" is a song written by Cole Porter for his 1934 musical of the same name. Many of the lyrics include humorous references[1] to figures of scandal and gossip from Depression-era high society.[2]

A recording by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra (vocal by Ramona Davies) was very popular in 1934.[3]

People and items referenced in the song[edit]

The song opens with a reference to the Massachusetts Bay Colony

"Times have changed, And we've often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got a shock, When they landed on Plymouth Rock
If today, any shock they should try to stem, 'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock would land on them".

The opening stanza is believed to have influenced the orations of Malcolm X, who in 1964 said "Our forefathers were not the Pilgrims, we didn't land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us.[4]

The song mentions Mae West, Hollywood sex symbol, and Missus Ned McLean (Evalyn Walsh McLean), who had traveled to Soviet Union early after the Russian Revolution in an attempt to have a Tsarist relative reappointed Ambassador to the United States. Also mentioned are industrialist John D. Rockefeller, producer Max Gordon, the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys, and prominent tastemaker Lady Mendl.

One couplet refers to Samuel Goldwyn's box-office failure Nana starring Anna Sten, whose English was said to be incomprehensible to all except Goldwyn. (Goldwyn was from Poland and Sten from Ukraine.)[2] The final stanza references an advertisement that Eleanor Roosevelt had done for a bed company.[5]

Later recordings[edit]


Frank Sinatra recorded the song for Capitol from October 17, 1955, to January 16, 1956. His version was included on Songs for Swingin' Lovers! in March 1956.[6] Almost simultaneously, Chris Connor recorded the song on either January 23 or February 8 on her first album for Atlantic.[7] Months later, Ella Fitzgerald released the first of two versions. Recorded between February 7 and March 27 of the same year for Verve, her first version was released on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.[8] In 1972, Atlantic released Ella Loves Cole.[9] This second version was arranged by Nelson Riddle.[9] Also on Verve, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan released an instrumental rendition of the song in 1957 on their album Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi on which they switched instruments.[10] Tony Bennett first recorded the song on January 3 or 5, 1959, with the Count Basie Orchestra for Roulette. The recording was released on Basie Swings, Bennett Sings, also known as Strike Up the Band.[11] The Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded the song for the 1966 album Anything Goes! The Dave Brubeck Quartet Plays Cole Porter; Brubeck and his quartet recorded their version of the song between December 8, 1965, and February 17, 1966, for Columbia.[12] The song was recorded by Harpers Bizarre and released as a single in 1967. The group's version peaked at number forty-three on the Billboard pop singles chart and at number six on the Adult Contemporary.[13]

Almost two decades later, the song was partially translated into Mandarin for the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, presumably with some assistance from John Williams, who arranged the film score.[14] The song is performed by Kate Capshaw's character as the film's opening scene. The song is performed with a number of synchronized dancers in a large cabaret number set in a Shanghai night club circa 1935. The song is included on the original film soundtrack.[14]

The 1982 Royal Variety Performance featured Peter Skellern performing the song.[15]


There have been other cast recordings.[16] John Barrowman performed the song in the 2003 West End revival; his performance was released on Anything Goes (2003 National Theatre's London Cast Recording).[17] Sutton Foster, with Company, also performed the song in the 2011 Broadway revival; the performance is included Anything Goes Sondheim Theatre Broadway Cast Recording.[18] This cast recording, from the 2011 revival, debuted at number 1 on Billboard's Cast Album Chart.[19] As a recurring cast member of the Fox television series Glee, Lindsay Pearce performed the song in a mashup with the show tune "Anything You Can Do" written by Irving Berlin for the Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun. She performed the mashup during the season three episode "The Purple Piano Project" that was broadcast on September 20, 2011. The single peaked at No. 185 on the UK Singles Chart.[20] In 2018, Ashleigh Murray performed the song in an episode of the third season of the television series Riverdale.[21]

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga version[edit]

"Anything Goes"
Single by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
from the album Cheek to Cheek
ReleasedJuly 29, 2014
Songwriter(s)Cole Porter
Producer(s)Dae Bennett
Tony Bennett singles chronology
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore"
"Anything Goes"
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Anything Goes"
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
Studio video
"Anything Goes" on YouTube

Background and composition[edit]

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga first collaborated when they sang "The Lady Is a Tramp" for Bennett's Grammy Award-winning album, Duets II, then on the album Cheek to Cheek (2014).[22] The recording took place over a year in New York City. Bennett's quartet was present, including Mike Renzi, Gray Sargent, Harold Jones, and Marshall Wood as well as pianist Tom Lanier. With Marion Evans, jazz trumpeter Brian Newman, a long-time friend and colleague of Gaga, played on the album. Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and flautist Paul Horn performed. The songs were handpicked by Bennett and Gaga; they selected tracks from the Great American Songbook, including "Anything Goes".[22]

Bennett sang "Anything Goes" on his album Strike Up the Band (1959), which Gaga heard when she was 13 years old. She thought "Anything Goes" was a funny track with a "real sexy, powerful vibe to it, and it's just because we're having fun singing it."[23] Gaga and Bennett switched lyrics. The recording was described by Bobby Olivier of The Star-Ledger as "smooth as silk...Gaga's voice, when stripped of its bells and whistles, showcases a timelessness that lends itself well to the genre."[24] Instrumentation comes from horns, cymbals, and saxophones.[25] Photographer Steven Klein shot the album covers developed the cover art showing Gaga and Bennett in a newspaper cut.[22]

Release and reception[edit]

Howard Reich of Chicago Tribune gave a positive review, saying found Gaga to be in "good voice" and Bennett in "classic form".[26] Bree Jackson at V magazine called the song a "fresh take" on the original.[27] MTV News critic Gil Kaufman said, "Gaga is clearly having a blast, doing her best Broadway belting with tons of energy and enthusiasm".[28] Alexa Camp at Slant Magazine called Gaga's performance "blatantly affected, marred by shouting and clichéd phrasing."[29] Edwin McFee at Hot Press called the song "tawdry" and "stale". "Gaga attempting to out-sing Bennett was a terribly misguided decision".[30] The song received a nomination for Record Production/Single or Track at the 30th Annual TEC Awards under the category of Outstanding Creative Achievement Awards.[31]

In the United Kingdom, "Anything Goes" debuted at number 174 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending August 9, 2014. It also charted at number 132 on the sales chart of the Official Charts Company.[32] In Spain it debuted within the top-fifty of the PROMUSICAE singles chart at number 40.[33] "Anything Goes" debuted outside the top 100 of the French Singles Chart, at number 178.[34] On the Billboard Jazz Digital Songs chart, the track debuted at the top, becoming Gaga's second entry on that chart, following "The Lady is a Tramp". The song was Bennett's 15th entry on the Jazz Digital Songs chart, and his third number-one single.[35][36] According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Anything Goes" sold 16,000 digital downloads in the US up to the week ending August 3, 2014.[37] The song dropped to number three on Jazz Digital Songs chart the next week but moved back to number two the week after.[38][39]


Chart (2014) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Flanders)[40] 53
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Wallonia)[41] 39
France (SNEP)[34] 178
Italy (FIMI)[42] 65
Japan (Billboard Japan Hot 100)[43] 44
Mexico (Mexico Airplay)[44] 22
Russia Airplay (Tophit)[45] 223
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[33] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[32] 174
US Jazz Digital Songs (Billboard)[35] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various July 29, 2014 Digital download [46]
Italy Radio airplay Universal [47]


  1. ^ "Anything Goes Lyrics by Cole Porter (original lyrics)". Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Black, G.D. (1996). Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–204. ISBN 9780521565929. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 453. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ "COVER STORY : 'By Any Means Necessary'--Lee Adopts Motto of Malcolm X". Los Angeles Times. February 2, 1992.
  5. ^ Purdum, Todd S. (July 24, 1995). "First Lady Takes a Page from Eleanor Roosevelt". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Songs for Swingin' Lovers! at AllMusic
  7. ^ "Chris Connor". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook review". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Ella Loves Cole". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi". AllMusic. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  11. ^ Bennett & Basie Strike Up the Band at AllMusic
  12. ^ "Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter". AllMusic. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 111.
  14. ^ a b Williams, John (1984). Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Inlay cover). Polydor Records, Concord Music Group.
  15. ^ Radio Times 14 Nov 1982
  16. ^ ""Anything Goes" (play) cast recordings overview". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  17. ^ "Anything Goes (2003 National Theatre's London Cast Recording)". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  18. ^ "Anything Goes". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  19. ^ Propst, Andy (September 28, 2011), Anything Goes Original Cast Album Debuts at #1 on Billboard's Cast Album Chart,, retrieved August 3, 2014
  20. ^ "UK Singles Chart: CLUK Update (1.10.2011 - week 38) (for: "Anything Goes / Anything You Can Do")". Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "Riverdale Music Video for Anything Goes is Insane". Den Of Geek. October 24, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Album of Classic Jazz Standards To Be Released September 23" (Press release). Toronto: Universal Music Canada. July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  23. ^ Ryan, Patrick (July 28, 2014). "It's a world gone mad as Gaga, Bennett duet on 'Goes'". USA Today. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  24. ^ Olivier, Bobby (July 29, 2014). "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett record 'Cheek to Cheek' jazz classics album". The Star-Ledger. Richard Vezza. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  25. ^ Daw, Robbie (July 29, 2014). "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's 'Anything Goes': Listen to the 'Cheek to Cheek' Duet". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  26. ^ Reich, Howard (August 8, 2014). "Tony Bennett on Lady Gaga, and his dreams for his 90th birthday". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  27. ^ Jackson, Bree (July 29, 2014). "The Video: Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett — Anything Goes". V. Stephen Gan. Archived from the original on August 1, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  28. ^ Kaufman, Gil (September 16, 2014). "Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett's 'Cheek To Cheek': A Track By Track Breakdown". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Camp, Alexa (September 17, 2014). "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  30. ^ McFee, Edwin (September 19, 2014). "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga 'Anything Goes' - Track Review". Hot Press. Niall Stokes. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  31. ^ "Nominees for the 30th Annual TEC Awards for Outstanding Creative Achievement". 30th Annual TEC Awards. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  32. ^ a b "UK Singles Chart: Top 200 entries". UKChartsPlus. Milton Keynes. August 9, 2014. p. 21. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  34. ^ a b "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  35. ^ a b "Jazz Digital Songs : Aug 16, 2014". Billboard. August 8, 2014. Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  36. ^ "Chart Search: Billboard: Tony Bennett". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  37. ^ Caulfield, Keith (August 11, 2014). "Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Top Jazz Digital Songs Chart, Again". Billboard. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  38. ^ "Jazz Digital Songs: August 23, 2014". Billboard. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  39. ^ "Jazz Digital Songs: September 6, 2014". Billboard. September 6, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  40. ^ "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  41. ^ "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  42. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 31". Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  43. ^ "Lady Gaga Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  44. ^ "Lady Gaga Chart History (Mexico Airplay)". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  45. ^ "Chart Search". Tophit for Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  46. ^ Strecker, Erin (July 29, 2014). "It's Official: Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Announce Album, Premiere 'Anything Goes' Video". Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  47. ^ "EarOne | Radio Date, le novita musicali della settimana" (in Italian). EarOne. Retrieved August 24, 2020.