As a songwriter, Cole Porter was not known for his social conscience. Miss Otis Regrets is an exceptional exception to that rule.
Cole Porter composed this song in 1934. Miss Otis the heroine of the piece is unable to lunch because she was accused of murder then lynched. That’s pretty strong stuff coming from the man who wrote Anything Goes.
We have four versions that are posted in chronological order. The first one comes from Ethel Waters in 1934:
Miss Otis is one of the highlights of Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook:
I’ve never understood why Bryan Ferry didn’t become THE rock star who sings standards, but that crown went to Rod Stewart who doesn’t have the voice for it. His rasp is more suited for blues, R&B, and rock but life can be strange.
Here’s Ferry’s take on Miss Otis from 1999:
Finally, a Hammond B-3 heavy version from Van Morrison:
Van also has a voice made to sing standards
Have a drink. Relax. It’s the Friday Cocktail Hour. Cheers.