Love for Sale (song)

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"Love for Sale"
Song by The Peddlers
Released 1930 (1930)
Genre Jazz
Songwriter(s) Cole Porter

"Love for Sale" is a song by Cole Porter from the musical The New Yorkers which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances. The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising "love for sale".


When the song came out in 1930, a newspaper called it bad taste. Radio stations avoided it. In the Broadway musical, the scene was moved to the Cotton Club in Harlem and the song was sung by black singer Elisabeth Welch instead of white singer Kathryn Crawford. In the early 1950s, Billie Holiday recorded a version of the song. She had been a prostitute for a while and gave the song some credibility. Other than Holiday, vocalists didn't want to take on the risque song, leaving instrumental versions to Sidney Bechet, Erroll Garner, Charlie Parker, and Art Tatum. Ella Fitzgerald reluctantly recorded it for her tribute album to the song's writer, Cole Porter. "Love for Sale" appeared on the album Somethin' Else by Cannonball Adderley with Miles Davis in the session.[1] Les McCann did an uptempo instrumental version on his album Much Les (1969).[2] Other musicians to record the song include Hal Kemp in 1939, Stan Kenton in 1950 (arranged by Pete Rugolo), and Joyce Bryant in 1952.[3]

The song's chorus, like many in the Great American Songbook, is written in the A-A-B-A format. However, instead of 32 bars, it has 64, plus an 8-bar tag. The tag is often dropped when the song is performed. The tune, using what is practically a trademark for Porter, shifts between a major and minor feeling.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Much Les". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Record Reviews: Popular". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 64 (46): 104. November 15, 1952. ISSN 0006-2510.

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