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January 19, 2011

Cole Porter's Eventful Nights and Days

JAMA. 2011;305(3):310-311. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.2007

Between the firestorms of World War I and the frosty exchanges of the Cold War, American popular music was ruled by names like Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Harry Warren, Harold Arlen, Frank Loesser, and Jules Styne. Their work constitutes what music historians have termed the “Great American Songbook” and includes many of the most-beloved songs of the 20th century. In almost every case, these gifted composers relegated the chores of lyric writing to a cadre of uniquely applied poets. Yet one man managed to combine both talents in a manner that will likely never be topped: Cole Porter (1891-1964).1-3