“All Through the Night”, composed while Porter was cruising down the Rhine, debuted in the immensely popular show, “Anything Goes “(1934), “the quintessential 30’s musical”. Newspapers described opening night as the “greatest gala since the Depression began” as one society columnist reported that “even those sitting in the balcony were resplendent in chinchilla”. Some critics (Alex Wilder, among them) praised the score as “Porter at his best” and the NY Times crowed that “Cole Porter has written a dashing score with impish lyrics”. “Anything Goes” turned Porter into one of the best-publicized celebrities in the US.
“All Through the Night “ was actually written as a replacement for another of the most touchingly tender of Porter’s love songs, “Easy to Love” (eventually sung by Jimmy Stewart in the 1936 film “Born to Dance”) , whose high notes one of the male singers claimed he couldn’t reach. Porter felt that rewriting ruined songs; so, he simply replaced “Easy to Love” with “All Through the Night”, which is a perfect love song for a budding shipboard romance. On the SS American, stowaway, Billy Crocker, falls hard for the heiress Hope Harcourt. They have a chance encounter on the first night of their voyage, admitting their “love at first sight” as they stare out over the Atlantic Ocean.
While “All Through the Night” has been recorded by a number of artists, I was surprised to find a cast recording of “Anything Goes” with the incomparable, Flicka von Stade, singing the role of Hope. This version is hard to top. Enjoy!
“All through the night I delight in your love, All through the night you’re so close to me. All through the night from a height far above, You and your love bring me ecstasy.”