“Fifty Million Frenchmen” (1929), one of Cole Porter’s first successful, Broadway shows, featured a number of songs that are still sung today; “You Do Something to Me”, “You’ve Got That Thing”, “You Don’t Know Paree”. Many shows of the era rarely existed in a definitive edition. Songs left during tryouts and were replaced by others and even after opening in New York changes were made to the show’s score. Producers were quick to eliminate material that might slow a show down or didn’t appear to be going over with the audience.
One of the songs dropped was the charming, “Why Don’t We Try Staying Home”. Throughout his career, Porter wrote shows populated with the rich, smart young people of the set of which he himself was a part. Some of the characters in “Fifty Million Frenchmen” reflect that, but there is also a skewering of the annoying American nouveau riche who according to Porter thought that anything and everything was for sale. Dropped from the show in 1929, “Why Don’t We Try” was first published in 1975 in “The Unpublished Cole Porter”.
Listen to the lyrics, which perfectly encapsulate some of Porter’s attitudes towards contemporaries whom he liked to mock:
“What if we threw a party or two, And asked only you & me?” “Let’s let the dressy dames with hyphenated names In search of faster games fly by.” “Let us begin to cut the folks who merely strut And talk of nothing but their incomes. Let’s have no further use, For going on the loose, The moment orange juice & gin comes. Our little love affair will make us cease to care How many parties they’re giving.”
Here is an unadorned version of “Why Don’t We Try Staying Home” with a nice sense of swing by Justin Hayford, which I hope you will enjoy.