The Lady Is a Tramp

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This article is about the song from the musical Babes In Arms. For the TV series, see The Lady Is a Tramp (TV series). For the Spice Girls song, see Spiceworld (album).
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
Song from Babes in Arms by Mitzi Green
Published 1937
Writer Lorenz Hart
Composer Richard Rodgers

"The Lady Is a Tramp" is a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. This song is a spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is "I get too hungry for dinner at eight..."). It has become a popular standard.


The lyrics portray a woman who has her own priorities in life and who is not interested to play with New York high society stereotypes. Hence she is dismissed as a tramp.[1] The original lyrics are more explicit than subsequent versions (some substituting "champ" for "tramp") and portray dated references to mid '30s New York urban life and culture:

  • Fiorello La Guardia was elected mayor of New York Mayor in 1933, relying not on the Manhattan elite but on middle and lower classes, including Italian and German immigrants, Jews, and some Democrats and Socialists.
  • George VI and Queen Elizabeth's coronation was in 1937 and most of Manhattan's elites were interested in the ceremony in London.
  • Mulligan stew is a dish said to have been prepared by American hobos in camps in the early 1900s.
  • The Ritz hotel is a luxury hotel on Central Park.
  • Sardi's is a New York restaurant that opened in 1927 at 234 West 44th Street and has remained at the site without interruption
  • Noël Coward was a highly popular British actor and director in the 1930s, known for his sophisticated comedies and influence on American culture.
  • Coney Island and the lake in Central Park are popular places for New York middle-class amusements.
  • Walter Winchell was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator.
  • Elizabeth Arden built a cosmetics empire in the United States.
  • For the Beaux Arts Ball, held in New York in 1931, famous architects dressed up as their buildings.
  • Aside from its obvious meaning, Dinner at Eight is also the title of a 1932 play and a 1933 movie, a comedy of manners concentrating on the life of a high class New York magnate family: they invite an English peer and his wife to dinner as a sign of social distinction, but the dinner results in disaster.


Early recordings from 1937 include one by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (featuring Edythe Wright on vocals), Midge Williams and Her Jazz Jesters, Sophie Tucker, and Bernie Cummins on the Vocalion records label (#3714). Lena Horne recorded the song with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Orchestra on March 30, 1948. Her performance appeared in the film, Words and Music, a fictionalized biography of the partnership of Rodgers and Hart. The song was also used in the film version of Pal Joey starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. Joey Evans (Sinatra) sings the song to Vera Simpson (Hayworth) as he tries to entice the wealthy widow Simpson into financing Evans's dream of owning his own night club. It was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald in 1950s and Shirley Bassey in the 1960s, becoming a signature song for Sinatra. Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a new cover in the 1960s too. Buddy Greco's version was a million seller in the 50s. Deana Martin, daughter of Dean Martin, recorded “The Lady Is A Tramp” in 2006. The song was released on her album "Memories Are Made of This" in 2006 by Big Fish Records.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duet[edit]

"The Lady Is a Tramp"
Single by Tony Bennett featuring Lady Gaga
from the album Duets II
Released October 3, 2011
Format Digital download, airplay
Recorded March 23, 2011
Abbey Road Studios
Genre Swing, jazz
Length 3:18
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Tony Bennett singles chronology
"Body and Soul"
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore"
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"You and I"
"The Lady Is a Tramp"
"Marry the Night"

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded a version of this song for his 2011 album Duets II. Bennett praised Gaga's performance in the song, saying that she is a real "jazz lady". They performed the song live on ABC's Thanksgiving special dedicated to, written, directed, produced and hosted by Gaga entitled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving.[2] They were the opening number, singing next to an old piano in a casual obscure room.[3] Bennett said, "I see in Lady Gaga a touch of theatrical genius, she is very creative and very productive, I think as time goes on she might be America's Picasso. I think she's going to become as big as Elvis Presley." [4] The song, even though not officially released got to enter the Japan Hot 100, where it has managed to enter the top 40 and it has also entered the top 200 extension to the UK Singles Chart.[5][6]

Following the single, Bennett drew a sketch of Gaga naked for the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, which was then auctioned for $30,000. The money raised went to charity, supporting the Exploring the Arts (ETA) and Born This Way Foundation.[7]

The song as well as the video received critical acclaim for the vocals of both Bennett and Gaga as well as for the simplicity of the video, which departs from Gaga's usual efforts. The song received praise from both E![8] and MTV.[9] Other critics expressed hopes that Gaga would release her own jazz music after this successful effort.[10]

The song was also added to Cheek to Cheek: HSN Deluxe album bonus tracks duet between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett released in September 2014.

Music video[edit]

The duo filmed a music video for the track.[9][11] The video shows Bennett and Gaga singing "The Lady Is a Tramp" together in a studio in front of music stands. The video, like the song's lyrical content, received largely positive critical reception.[9][12][13]


Chart (2011) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[14] 16
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[15] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 188
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[16] 21
US Jazz Digital Songs (Billboard)[17] 1

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format
United States[18] September 20, 2011 Digital download
France[19] October 3, 2011
United Kingdom[20] November 5, 2011 Mainstream radio

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "'A Very Gaga Thanksgiving': 5 Things We Want to See". Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2011-11-04). "Lady Gaga To Host Thanksgiving Special". MTV News. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  4. ^ "New Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – "The Lady Is A Tramp" Video". The Audio Perv. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK – Update 15.10.2011". Zobbel. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  7. ^ Fair, Vanity. "Tony Bennett's Nude Lady Gaga Sketch Auctioned for $30,000". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  8. ^ "Lady Gaga "Tramps" It Up With Tony Bennett in New Music Video". E!. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  9. ^ a b c 08/18/2011 19:33:21 (2011-10-03). "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett 'Tramp' It Up In New Video – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  10. ^ "Lady Gaga Is A Broadway Baby On Tony Bennett Duet 'The Lady Is A Tramp' | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on". 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  11. ^ "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett unveil 'The Lady Is a Tramp' video – Music News". Digital Spy. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  12. ^ "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ [Video]". 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  13. ^ "The Lady Is A Tramp Video: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga". 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  14. ^ " – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – The Lady Is A Tramp" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  15. ^ "Lady Gaga – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for Lady Gaga. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  16. ^ "Lady Gaga – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Lady Gaga. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  17. ^ "Jazz Digital Songs: October 8, 2011". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Lady Is A Tramp: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – The Lady Is A Tramp". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  20. ^ "BBC – Radio 2 – Playlist – Week Commencing: November 5, 2011". BBC Radio 2. November 5, 2011. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. 

External links[edit]