This is a follow-up post to my first effort of June 10, 2016.
Written for the 1932 musical “Gay Divorce” (“Night & Day”, “How’s Your Romance” and “I’ve Got You on My Mind” also debuted in this show), this song was introduced to Broadway by Fred Astaire. “Gay Divorce” seems to have lived a charmed life. It introduced Porter to the totally professional producing team of Wiman and Weatherly and a new director, Howard Lindsay,
Porter’s great hope was to persuade Fred Astaire to play the lead. He was so excited by the project that he even began writing the score before the contracts were signed. Living in Paris at the time, he invited Astaire over to his house to hear what he had written in anticipation of being engaged to supply music for the show. As soon as Astaire heard “After You, Who?” he agreed to take the role, in what was to be his last Broadway show.
Although not one of Porter’s better-known songs, “After You, Who?” is one of intense emotion and longing and it has been recorded by many artists. Sample these lyrics:
After you, why Should I take the time to try, For who else could qualify After you, who?
After you, why Should I take the time to try, For who else could qualify After you, who? Hold my hand and swear You’ll never cease to care, For without you there what could I do?”
When I first started writing this blog I found it difficult to decide whether to showcase Porter’s songs as instrumental (I’m a piano player) or vocal pieces. It dawned on me after a while that Porter’s lyrics are critical to the enjoyment of his music; so here are two classic versions of this song performed by Fred Astaire as well as Helen Merrill.