Nina

  • Noël Coward wrote this comic song in the Spring of 1944 while traveling on an overnight train in South Africa. Though incredibly complex both rhythmically and lyrically, he performed it "hot from the oven" and dried up dead as he started the first verse. His audience was forgiving, and he started again, but Coward was furious with himself, and "ashamed of my casual non-professionalism... before I attempted 'Nina' again it had been rehearsed two hours a day for a week."

    It may have been that the song was inspired by the Portuguese-born Brazillian singer Carmen Miranda. Coward did in fact write some alternative lyrics alluding to her for the second verse, in July 1945, but dropped these after being advised they could have been construed as defamatory.
  • When he performed "Nina" in the 1955 CBS special Together With Music, he introduced it as a song about "a fairly disagreeable lady." Carmen Miranda was anything but a disagreeable lady, having recorded such songs as "The Lady In The Tutti Frutti Hat," but Coward does take a playful swipe at his contemporary and rival Cole Porter in the song, which drew laughs from his TV audience. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
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