You're the Top

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"You're the Top"
Songwriter(s)Cole Porter

"You're the Top" is a Cole Porter song from the 1934 musical Anything Goes. It is about a man and a woman who take turns complimenting each other. The best-selling version was Paul Whiteman's Victor single, which made the top five.

It was the most popular song from Anything Goes at the start with hundreds of parodies.[1][2]

The lyrics are particularly notable because they offer a snapshot as to what was highly prized in the mid-1930s and demonstrate Porter's rhyming ability.[citation needed]

Some of the lyrics were re-written by P. G. Wodehouse for the British version of Anything Goes.

People and items referenced in the song[edit]

The following is a list of the references used in the version recorded by Cole Porter on November 26, 1934:

Additional references in other versions of the song:

P. G. Wodehouse anglicised it for the British version of Anything Goes. Among other changes, he altered two lines from "You’re an O’Neill drama / You’re Whistler’s mama!" to "You’re Mussolini / You’re Mrs Sweeny")[6][7]

Versions of the song[edit]


Porter biographer William McBrien wrote that at the height of its popularity in 1934 to 1935 it had become a "popular pastime" to create parodies of the lyrics.[2] Porter, who himself had called the song "just a trick" the public would get bored by[2] was flooded with hundreds of parodies with one reportedly written by Irving Berlin.[2] Despite the "ribald" nature of some of the parodies, McBrien believes few, including a King Kong parody, were written by Porter or Berlin.[14] The American Cabaret Theatre biographical musical Cole & Noel (2001) had the line "I'm talkin' King Kong's penis" in the performance of the song.


  1. ^ Redmond, James (1981). Drama, Dance and Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-521-22180-1.
  2. ^ a b c d McBrien, William (1998). Cole Porter : a biography (1 ed.). New York: Knopf. pp. 169–171. ISBN 978-0-394-58235-1.
  3. ^ Noah, Timothy (June 9, 2005). "A skeleton key to "You're the Top."". Slate. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  4. ^ Day to Day. June 10, 2005. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  5. ^ Botto, Louis (December 10, 1997). "A User's Guide to Cole Porter's "You're the Top". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  6. ^ "Mayfair, the Duchess of Argyll and the Headless Man polaroids". Another Nickel In The Machine. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  7. ^ Hoge, Warren (16 August 2000). "London Journal; A Sex Scandal of the 60's, Doubly Scandalous Now". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  8. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  9. ^ "1985 Canadian commercial – Heinz Ketchup – You're the Top". YouTube. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  10. ^ Mortimer, John (1985). Paradise Postponed. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 014009864X.
  11. ^ "NPH and David Burtka singing Your The Top At Trevor Live". YouTube. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  12. ^ "It's De Lovely – The Authentic Cole Porter Collection". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  13. ^ Stacey Kent - You're the top, retrieved 2021-04-28
  14. ^ Noah, Timothy (18 June 2005). "Farewell to Berlin". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2012.

External links[edit]