Eternal Irving Berlin *UPDATED*

I caught Taco on satellite radio, performing his own weird version of Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz.  I thought I’d do a little collection of videos showing that song playing out over the decades.

Here’s Harry Richman, for whom Berlin wrote the song, performing it in 1930, in one of the earliest musical films.  It’s primitive, but still fun to watch, if for no other reason than as a blast back into time.  (I love the plump chorines.)

Although Berlin wrote the song for Richman, in 1930 Fred Astaire also recorded it, with his staccato presentation putting a lasting imprint on the song:

In 1937, Clark Gable, in his delightful turn as a two bit vaudeville player, turned in a wonderfully camp and charming version of the same song.  Indeed, this is my favorite version of the song:

By 1946, Fred Astaire once again was “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” this time on film, as opposed to just a sound recording:

In the mid-1970s, Michael Jackson — Michael Jackson! — along with his brothers tackled the song (at about 1:00 minute in):

The 1980s saw Taco’s somewhat boring (and very creepy and un-PC) version:

Recently, even people with no discernible talent have recorded this classic.  Here’s Rufus Wainwright, who appears incapable of carrying a tune.  I recommend no more than 10 seconds of this one.  I include it just to show how eternal Irving Berlin is:

UPDATE:  Rockdalian reminded me of yet another “classic” version, this from Young Frankenstein:

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

  1. Gringo says

    I was not able to locate Ella Fitzgerald singing “Putting on the Ritz” on YouTube. She did it in the Irving Berlin part of her American Songbook series. For some reason, she let loose more in the Irving Berlin section of the Songbook than for other songwriters. IMHO, it could be argued that she did the best with Irving Berlin. Her Songbook version of Alexander’s Ragtime Band is a hoot.

    Here is Russian Lullaby from the Irving Berlin section of the Songbook.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply