Puttin’ On The Ritz

Irving Berlin month hits the homestretch with a song he wrote in 1927. I’m passing on the Putin on the Ritz jokes. This is a Carefree feature like the Astaire-Rogers-Berlin movie of that title. Putin is the opposite. Ugh, just ugh.

Puttin’ On The Ritz is one of Berlin’s jazzier compositions. It ended up in the Crosby-Astaire movie Blue Skies, which was a landing place for many venerable Berlin songs.

We begin with Fred Astaire and Oscar Peterson:

Here’s a swinging version from Ella Fitzgerald and the Buddy Bregman Orchestra.

Mel Tormé gets dressed up like a million-dollar trooper in this version.

A reggae version from the Mighty Diamonds:

It’s Taco Friday with this synth pop take on the Berlin classic.

Finally, Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in one of the funniest scenes in one of the funniest films ever made.

What would a Friday Cocktail Hour be without a jazz instrumental of the week’s song? This time, the Benny Goodman trio followed by two fiddlers: Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli.

That’s it for this week. Let’s toast the 186 plus artists who have recorded this week’s tune. It’s what Fred and Bing would want. Never argue with them.

One thought on “Puttin’ On The Ritz

  1. I came to make sure you included the best version of this song ever, and you did not let me down. I should’ve had faith.

    If there’s any doubt about Mel Brooks’ judgement or a question of why his later films lacked a certain spark, let us recall that Gene Wilder had to fight to keep “Puttin’ On the Ritz” in Young Frankenstein, that Brooks initially only conceded about keeping it in test screenings with a plan to cut it later, and only surrendered to the superior judgement of his collaborator when “Puttin’ On the Ritz” killed in said test screenings. If it isn’t the funniest thing in that movie (and it might be), it’s only because that other Gene in the movie nearly walks away with the film in his scene. (An achievement in any project featuring Peter Boyle or Madeleine Kahn.)

    What a sublime movie. What a good year 1974 was for Mel Brooks.

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