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"Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" (also known as "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" or simply "Let's Do It") is a popular song written in 1928 by Cole Porter. It was introduced in Porter's first Broadway success, the musical Paris (1928) by French chanteuse Irène Bordoni for whom Porter had written the musical as a starring vehicle. Bordoni's husband and Paris producer Ray Goetz having convinced Porter to give Broadway another try with this show. The song was later used in the English production of Wake Up and Dream (1929). In 1960 it was also included in the film version of Cole Porter's Can-Can.

The first of Porter's famous "list songs", it features a string of suggestive and droll comparisons and examples, preposterous pairings and double-entendres, dropping famous names and events, drawing unexpectedly from highbrow and popular culture. Porter was a strong admirer of the Savoy Opera work of Sir Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert, many of whose stage works featured similar comic list songs.

The first refrain covers human ethnic groups, the second refrain birds, the third refrain marine life, the fourth refrain insects (plus centipedes) and the fifth refrain non-human mammals.

The phrase Let's do "it" is actually a euphemistic reference to a proposition for sexual intercourse. Several of the more suggestive lines in this regard include a couplet from verse 4: "Moths in your rugs do it, What's the use of moth-balls?" and "Folks in Siam do it, Think of Siamese twins" (verse 1) and "Why ask if shad do it? Waiter, bring me shad roe" (verse 3) and "Sweet guinea-pigs do it, Buy a couple and wait" (verse 5). There's also a report that Porter's original version included the even more risqué line, "Roosters with a doodle and a cock do it." If true, this was probably replaced by one of the lines in the verse 2 couplet "Penguins in flocks, on the rocks, do it, Even little cuckoos, in their clocks, do it."

The nature of the song, "Let's Fall in Love," is such that it has lent itself over the years to the regular addition of contemporary or topical stanzas. For example, in 1955 the line "Even Liberace, we assume, does it" was added by Noël Coward in his cabaret performance of the song.

The song has been revived many times since 1928, although usually with only a limited portion of the original lyrics. A punk rock version performed by Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg was used as the theme song in the 1995 movie Tank Girl, and later in a more classical version in a musical revue number within the film. In the revue, the song is at first performed by stage actress Ann Magnuson, but is taken over by star Lori Petty after she places duct tape over Magnuson's mouth. It was originally recorded with Joan Jett and Greg Graffin, but Atlantic Records didn't want them using Greg so they deleted his voice and recorded Paul's. Joan Jett and Greg Graffin's version of "Let's Do It" was eventually released in 2000 on the compilation CD Laguna Tunes (Blackheart Records).

The White Stripes' song, "Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)" from their 2005 album Get Behind Me Satan borrows lyrics and themes from this song:

"So let's do it, just get on a plane and just do it // Like the birds and the bees and get to it"

Brazilian singers Chico Buarque and Elza Soares recorded a great Portuguese adaptation by Carlos Rennó, "Façamos - Vamos Amar" on Buarque's 2002 album "Duetos". It adds even more nations, animals and groups.

Porter's original opening line for the chorus was:

And that's why
Chinks do it, Japs do it

And this line can be heard in several early recordings of the song. Examples include a recording made by Dorsey Brothers & their Orchestra (featuring a vocal by a young Bing Crosby), Rudy Vallée, both in 1928, and a version of the song by the singer and well-known broadway star Mary Martin (with Ray Sinatra's orchestra), recorded in 1944. Another recording that includes the offensive opening line is one that was done by Billie Holiday, also in the 1940s.

The above referenced original opening stanza of the chorus were changed to the now much better known refrain: "Birds do it, Bees do it" by Cole Porter when he realized that the line was offensive.[1]

Notable recordingsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Philip H. Herbst (1997). The Color of Words: an encyclopaedic dictionary of ethnic bias in the United States. Intercultural Press. ISBN 1877864978. 
  2. RCA Victor Records in the 20-5500 to 20-5999 series

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