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Lyr Add: You're the Top (Cole Porter)

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Jim Dixon 18 Nov 07 - 04:28 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU'RE THE TOP (Cole Porter)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 04:28 PM

I ran across these lyrics while looking for something else. I've heard the song before, but I wasn't familiar with all the verses and choruses. You can read nearly all of this song at Google Book Search's copy of The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter.

You can hear these recorded versions of this song in archived radio programs:
Ethel Merman: click here and advance 1 hour 14 minutes and 30 seconds.
Ella Fitzgerald: click here and advance 1 hour 43 minutes and 30 seconds.
Hal Linden & Eileen Rodgers: click here and advance 27 minutes and 15 seconds. They have rearranged and updated the lyrics somewhat.

I enjoy how this song gives us a snapshot of what was considered "the best thing since sliced bread" in 1934. I have inserted links to identify most of the obscure terms (and some not-so-obscure terms). My work was made easier by this article in Slate Magazine.

Cole Porter
Introduced by Ethel Merman in "Anything Goes," 1934.

VERSE 1: At words poetic, I'm so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting 'em off my chest,
To let 'em rest unexpressed.
I hate parading my serenading
As I'll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty,
At least it'll tell you how great you are.

CHORUS 1: You're the top! You're the Coliseum [or "Colosseum"?].
You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss.
You're a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet. You're Mickey Mouse.
You're the Nile. You're the Tow'r of Pisa.
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

VERSE 2: Your words poetic are not pathetic.
On the other hand, boy, you shine,
And I can feel after every line
A thrill divine down my spine.
Now gifted humans like Vincent Youmans
Might think that your song is bad,
But for a person who's just rehearsin',
Well, I gotta say this, my lad:

CHORUS 2: You're the top! You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top! You're Napoleon brandy.
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain.
You're the National Gall'ry. You're Garbo's sal'ry. You're Cellophane.
You're sublime. You're a turkey dinner.
You're the time of the Derby winner.
I'm a toy balloon that is fated soon to pop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

CHORUS 3: You're the top! You're a Ritz hot toddy.
You're the top! You're a Brewster body.
You're the boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee.
You're a Nathan panning. You're Bishop Manning. You're broccoli.
You're a prize. You're a night at Coney.
You're the eyes of Irene Bordoni.
I'm a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top.

CHORUS 4: You're the top! You're an Arrow collar.
You're the top! You're a Coolidge dollar.
You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire.
You're an O'Neill drama. You're Whistler's mama. You're Camembert.
You're a rose. You're Inferno's Dante.
You're the nose of the great Durante.
I'm just in the way, as the French would say, "de trop,"
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top.

CHORUS 5: You're the top! You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top! You're a Berlin ballad.
You're a baby grand of a lady and a gent.
You're an old Dutch master. You're Mrs. Astor. You're Pepsodent.
You're romance. You're the steppes of Russia.
You're the pants on a Roxy usher.
I'm a lazy lout that's just about to stop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

CHORUS 6: You're the top! You're a dance in Bali.
You're the top! You're a hot tamale.
You're an angel, you, simply too, too, too diveen.
You're Botticelli. You're Keats. You're Shelley. You're Ovaltine.
You're a boon. You're the dam at Boulder.
You're the moon over Mae West's shoulder.
I'm a nominee of the G.O.P. or "Gop,"
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

CHORUS 7: You're the top! You're the Tower of Babel.
You're the top! You're the Whitney stable.
By the River Rhine, you're a sturdy stein of beer.
You're a dress from Saks's. You're next year's taxes. You're stratosphere.
You're my thoist. You're a Drumstick lipstick.
You're da foist in da Irish Svipstick.
I'm a frightened frog that can find no log to hop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

CHORUS 8: You're the top! You're my Swanee River.
You're the top! You're a goose's liver.
You're the boy who dares challenge Mrs. Baer's son, Max.
You're a Russian ballet. You're Rudy Vallée. You're Phenolax.
You're much more. You're a field of clover.
I'm the floor when the ball is over.
I'm a eunuch who has just been through an op,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

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