Love for Sale (song)

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"Love for Sale"
Song by The Peddlers
Released1930 (1930)
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.[1] The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising "love for sale".

Early versions[edit]

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.[citation needed]


When the song came out in 1930, a newspaper called it bad taste.[2] Radio stations avoided it.[3] Porter moved the scene to the Cotton Club in Harlem and the song was sung by biracial singer Elisabeth Welch instead of white singer Kathryn Crawford.[4] Despite this, popular recordings in 1931 were made by Libby Holman and by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians.[5]

In 1952, Billie Holiday recorded a version of the song.[3] She had been a prostitute for a while and gave the song some credibility.[3] Other than Holiday, vocalists did not want to take on the risque song at one time, leaving instrumental versions to Sidney Bechet, Erroll Garner, Charlie Parker, and Art Tatum.[3] The taboo had waned by the 1960s.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Internet Broadway Database". Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Charles (1979). Cole Porter. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80097-7, pp. 115–116
  3. ^ a b c d e Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  4. ^ Yaffe, David (2006). Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing. Princeton University Press. Chapter 4. ISBN 978-1-40082-680-3.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 543. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.

External links[edit]