“The New Yorkers” (1930) featured several songs that are still sung today; “Where Have You Been?” the ever popular “Love for Sale”, “I Happen to Like New York” and “Let’s Fly Away”. The musical, starring Jimmy Durante, satirized New York (‘Park Avenue, the place where bad women walk good dogs’) ultra-jaded types, from high society matrons to con men, bathtub-gin bootleggers, thieves and prostitutes during Prohibition. It is often referred to as one of Cole Porter’s “lost musicals” as three days after it opened the Bank of the United States closed and the Depression was upon the country. Ticket prices went down, salaries were cut and the show closed after just five months, losing all of its money.
Every time that I play “Let’s Fly Away”, I can’t help but think of Porter’s earlier tune, “Why Don’t We Try Staying Home’ (Fifty Million Frenchmen, 1929**). In the earlier show, the singer is imploring his partner to stop op’ning plays or closing cabarets but to throw a party for two instead, asking only the two of them. In “Let’s Fly Away” the theme is all about getting away from Manhattan.
“Let’s fly away,
And find a land that’s warm and tropic;
Where Prohibition’s not the topic
All the livelong day.
“I’ll make your life sublime,
Far across the blue,
I’ll take up all your time
“New York is not for us,
Let’s fly away.”
Here is David Silverman, a Tokyo-based, jazz pianist and vocalist, performing an easy, swinging arrangement of this witty and charming song.
** See my post dated 1/14/2018