Monday, October 15, 2012

Stop the Presses! Special Edition of Allan Sherman's Lost Lyrics

Just discovered that Barbra Streisand delivered a customized version of Cole Porter's famous "You're the Top" at her October 11 concert in Brooklyn, including the following fun lines,

You talk Brooklynese, saying "dese" and "dems" and "dose"
You're a Rolls-Royce dealer, you're the Wonder Wheel, you're vintage clothes!

 Naturally, that reminded me of Sherman's Jewish parody of the great song.

"You're the Top" was a number in Porter's 1934 musical Anything Goes, and parodies appeared almost right away. Irving Berlin wrote a bawdy parody with the fantastic line, "You're the burning heat of a bridal suite in use." The parody gets funnier as it gets dirtier and you can read it here.

In the 1950s, Allan Sherman began writing and performing for friends in Westchester, New York, his parodies of Broadway show tunes, a project he called "Goldeneh Moments From Broadway." I've discovered a lot of lost recordings of Sherman singing these songs, but never one of him singing his parody of "You're the Top."

Here are the opening lines of Sherman's Jewish parody,

You're the top
You're a dozen challas
You're the top
You're Chaim Weizmann's tallis
You're the fins in back of a Cadillac that's new
You're a house by Levitts
A Manischewitz 
A Fontainebleau!

You're a dish
That was sent from Himmel
You're a knish
Made by Yonah Shimmel
I'm a poor schlemiel who would like to steal a khop [feel]
But if Becky I'm a shmendrick
You're the top!

Here's a good version of the original "You're the Top"