Based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”, the Broadway show “Kiss Me Kate” (1948) featured a number of memorable Porter tunes: “Why Can’t You Behave”, “Wunderbar”, “So in Love” (see my post of 3/20/16), “Always True to You in My Fashion”, “Brush Up on Your Shakespeare” as well as “Too Darn Hot”.
Per his biographer, George Eels, Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate” “was essentially one of the theater’s thrilling stories of triumph achieved in the face of seemingly insuperable odds. By 1948 Porter was considered passé by investors who preferred to place their money on currently successful favorites. His health was uncertain and, worst of all, he was plagued by self-doubt. Shakespeare was even considered box-office poison.”
Against the odds the show turned out to be Porter’s biggest Broadway hit. It was the only show to run for more than 1,000 performances and be given half-way around the world in over a dozen translations. It has been revived a number of times over the last 60 years, a film version was released in 1953 and there have been at least 4 television productions.
“Too Darn Hot” has been recorded by many different individual artists as well as singing groups (incl. The Yale Whiffenpoofs). Two of my favorite interpreters are well known members of jazz’s royal family; Mel Torme (the Velvet Fog) and Ella Fitzgerald. Here are their up-tempo versions of this catchy song.
“I’d like to fool with my baby tonight, Break ev’ry rule with my baby tonight, But, pillow, you’ll be my baby tonight, “Cause it’s too darn hot.”