Begin The Beguine


  • This Cole Porter classic was introduced by June Knight in the Broadway musical Jubilee in 1935, and Artie Shaw's 1938 instrumental version went to #1 and made it famous. In 1956 Ella Fitzgerald released the first of her famous series of Songbooks of great American composers. Cole Porter's songs were the first in the series, and this was among the 35 tracks on the album.
  • This is played in the Hollywood productions Broadway Melody Of 1940 and Night And Day (1946), a mostly fictional biopic of composer Porter. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Doug - West Miami, FL, for above 2
  • A Beguine is a ballroom dance similar to a rumba. Cole Porter, who invented the word Beguine, also wrote "Let's End The Beguine" for Beatrice Lillie in 1944.
  • The musical Jubilee was inspired by King George V and Queen Mary's silver anniversary.
  • Artie Shaw, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Tom Jones and Dionne Warwick have all recorded this.
  • Cole Porter wrote this while aboard the Franconia ocean liner during a Pacific cruise in 1935.
  • Sheryl Crow performed this song in the 2004 Cole Porter biopic, De-Lovely, named for the Porter song.
  • Jazz trumpeter Harry James, who had just struck out on his own when he left Benny Goodman's orchestra, heard a 24-year-old unknown named Frank Sinatra sing this song at a New Jersey roadhouse in 1939. He recruited him as the male vocalist for his new band because he "liked Frank's way of talking a lyric."
  • On the Friends episode "The One with the Ballroom Dancing" (1997), a portion of the instrumental plays when Joey first attempts to teach Mr. Treeger to dance.

Comments: 4

  • Ellen from SpainThere's a Spanish film called 'Begin the beguine that won an Oscar in 1983 and has this song in its soundtrack.
  • Donna from Ft. Lauderdale, FlDe-Lovely was only a so-so movie, and that's too bad. But Sheryl Crowe's performance was elegant and timeless - worth watching a clip of this one scene if nothing else.
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyArtie Shaw's instrumental version of this song is one of the greatest recordings ever made. Shaw was a most creative and innovative bandleader but his ego and his hypersensitivy to the vagaries of the music industry was often a hindrance to the true greatness of which he was capable. But get a copy of his version; it is a joy to the ear and the mind!
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiR.E.M. had a song called "Begin The Begin" (the opening track from Life's Rich Pageant); that title is presumably a play on this song's title.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

Rickie Lee JonesSongwriter Interviews

Rickie Lee Jones on songwriting, social media, and how she's handling Trump.

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?