Old-Fashioned Garden

Album: Hitchy-Koo Of 1919 (1919)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Although he had been writing songs since he was a boy and had published his first as early as October 1902, it was not until 1919 that Cole Porter had his first hit, "Old-Fashioned Garden." This came about when he was asked to write a song for Hitchy-Koo Of 1919 by Raymond Hitchcock and his backers for the show. The girls were wearing flower costumes that had been ordered, but never used, by Ziegfeld for his Follies.

    According to his biographer George Eells, many years later Porter said this song - which he described not entirely accurately as "one of the first songs I wrote" - was criticized in England "because I had the wrong flowers growing together. Since that time I have been extremely careful. I took a course in anatomy before I wrote the lyrics for the doctor song... for Gertrude Lawrence," adding that he had studied "all manner of insect and animal life" before he started on "Let's Do It."

    Not everyone was impressed. Musicologist Sigmund Spaeth said both this song and "Yes, We Have No Bananas" were derived from "The Quilting Party," described here as an early melody.

    Whether or not this is true, "Old-Fashioned Garden" (or "An Old-Fashioned Garden") would go on to sell over a 100,000 copies of the sheet music. It has been claimed that Cole wrote it near the Front in WWI, but this is not correct.
  • In the show, the song was sung by Lillian Kemble Cooper and ensemble. Its first performance was August 28, 1919 at Nixon's Apollo Theatre in Atlantic City, with a follow-up in Boston before transferring to the Liberty Theatre in New York City.
  • According to the British Library catalogue, the sheet music for "Old Fashioned Garden" (without the hyphen) was published initially in the score for the show (listed as Hitchy-Koo 1919. 1. Vocal selections. Vocal score) by T.B. Harms of New York and Francis, Day & Hunter of London. In 1931, an arrangement by William Stickles (Duet or two-part song) was published by Chappell-Harms of New York, and Chappell of London and Sydney. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Grunge Bands Quiz

Grunge Bands QuizMusic Quiz

If the name Citizen Dick means anything to you, there's a chance you'll get some of these right.

Bill Withers

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin Popoff

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin PopoffSong Writing

A talk with Martin Popoff about his latest book on Rush and how he assessed the thousands of albums he reviewed.

Kevin Godley

Kevin GodleySongwriter Interviews

Kevin Godley talks about directing classic videos for The Police, U2 and Duran Duran, and discusses song and videos he made with 10cc and Godley & Creme.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?