Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"
ReleasedMay 7, 1937 (1937-05-07)
GenreTraditional pop
Songwriter(s)George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
First four bars of Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is a song written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates.[1] The music sheet is annotated with the word "Brightly".[2] The song was ranked No. 34 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs.[3]


The song is most famous for its "You like tomato /təˈmtə/ / And I like to-mah-to /təˈmɑːtə/" and other verses comparing British and American English accent. The differences in pronunciation are not simply regional, however, but serve more specifically to identify class differences. At the time, typical American pronunciations were considered less "refined" by the upper-class, and there was a specific emphasis on the "broader" a sound.[4] This class distinction with respect to pronunciation has been retained in caricatures, especially in the theater, where the longer a pronunciation is most strongly associated with the word darling.[5]


Popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Philip Furia (1997). Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist. Oxford University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-19-535394-5.
  2. ^ Yorktown Music Press (1 January 2011). The Joy of... George Gershwin. Yorktown Music Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-78323-824-8.
  3. ^ "America's Greatest Music in the Movies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  4. ^ Flexner, Stuart Berg (1982). Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from our Lively and Splendid Past. Simon and Schuster. p. 511.
  5. ^ Dunkling, Leslie (1990). A Dictionary of Epithets and Terms of Address. Routledge. p. 86.
  6. ^ "Astaire on 78". America.net. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  7. ^ "Ella Fitzgerald Discography – Part 2 – The Verve Years part 1". Ellafitzgerald.altervista.org. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  8. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  9. ^ "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "Broadway.com". Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Gershwin, Ira (1959). Lyrics on Several Occasions (First ed.). New York: Knopf. OCLC 538209.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]