Irving Berlin

Puttin' on the Ritz, song (from "Puttin' On The Ritz")

    Description by Robert Cummings

    There are actually two versions of this song, though their differences are only in the lyrics. Berlin first wrote "Puttin' on the Ritz" in 1927, but it was not until the 1930 film of the same title that it was premiered. In that production, Harry Richman, backed up by a chorus, sang it. Berlin revised it in 1946, changing the second line's reference from Lennox Avenue to Park Avenue and writing a mostly new refrain. That version was premiered in the 1946 film Blue Skies, where it was sung by Fred Astaire. The earlier rendition will sound more dated to modern ears, though both versions feature lyrics that are, understandably, passé. But the song's music is as rhythmic and jaunty as anything Berlin ever wrote. The theme is utterly catchy, instantly inducing the listener's foot to tap along with the beat. The words bounce along with an infectious lilt, perfectly fitting the lively music with their deliciously witty satire and simple but marvelously effective rhymes ("All misfits/Puttin' on the Ritz...."). This song is one of Berlin's most memorable efforts and will still have strong appeal among listeners of varied tastes.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 Genuin GEN 13294
    2012 Wounded Bird 5501
    2012 Decca / Universal
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099969853
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2007 Equilibrium 85
    2006 Querstand 0222
    2006 Rhino 73192
    2004 Summit Records 406
    2004 Chandos CHAN 6674
    2003 Castle Pulse / Sanctuary Records PLSCD 644
    2002 Naxos 8559123
    2002 Azica Records 71219
    2002 Turner Classic Movies Music / Rhino 78323
    2001 Shell Castle 2
    2001 Rhino / WEA Internation 41215
    2000 Doyen 096
    1995 Telarc Distribution 80366
    1995 Fat Boy 231
    1994 Saydisc 381
    1990 Newport Classic 60078
    1988 Compose Records 9011
    Bandleader 5143
    Capitol 90013
    Newport Classic 60078
    SPSB 2
    EMI Music Distribution 4509