"Let's Do It" featured image. Photograph of Cole Porter at the piano.

“Let’s Do It — Let’s Fall in Love” (1929)

“Let’s Do It — Let’s Fall in Love.” Composed by Cole Porter for C. B. Cochran’s Wake Up and Dream (1929). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle under the musical direction of Jay Wilbur in London c. May 1, 1929. Dominion A. 125 mx. 1252-2.

Personnel: ?Max Goldberg-t / ?Tony Thorpe-tb / Laurie Payne-Jimmy Gordon-cl-as-bar / George Clarkson-cl-as-ts / Norman Cole-vn / Billy Thorburn-p / Dave Thomas or Bert Thomas-bj-g / Harry Evans-sb / Jack Kosky-d

Elsie Carlisle – "Let's Do It – Let's Fall in Love" (1929)

Elsie Carlisle – “Let’s Do It — Let’s Fall in Love” (1929)

Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It — Let’s Fall in Love” was originally introduced by Irène Bordoni and Arthur Margetson in the 1928 Broadway musical Paris. It was also included in the original London production of Wake Up and Dream, where it was sung by Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson. It was in Wake Up and Dream that Elsie Carlisle introduced the song “What Is This Thing Called Love?” which is included on the reverse side of Dominion A. 125.

A “list” song,” “Let’s Do It” catalogues the various nationalities of the world, along with the species of animals, and suggests that if all of them “do it,” so should we. The ambiguous expression “do it” is allowed to play two roles, that of the sexual activity that some of the animals are patently engaging in as well as the more socially acceptable gloss provided by the song itself: “Let’s Fall in Love.” One should note that Elsie sings the original lyrics of the song, which include two racial slurs that  Cole Porter must have intended to be shockingly funny at the time but which he himself would eventually change to

Birds do it, bees do it,
Even educated fleas do it…

For my part, I find the momentary occurrence of the two crude racial demonyms regrettable. The way that Elsie sings “sweeet guinea pigs do it” is so exceedingly cute, however, that the recording will still occupy a place amongst my favorites.

“Let’s Do It” was recorded in America in late 1928 and early 1929 (in response to the Broadway production Paris) by Irving Aaronson (with vocalists Phil Saxe and Irving Aaronson), Meyer Davis, Rudy Vallée and His Yale Men, and the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (with vocals by Bing Crosby).

When Wake Up and Dream opened in London in the spring of 1929, there followed recordings by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra (with vocals by Sam Browne, Jack Hylton, and a third singer), Jay Wilbur and His Orchestra (with vocals by Tom Barratt and chorus), Bidgood’s Broadcaster’s (again with Tom Barratt), Nat Star and His Dance Orchestra (as The Troubadours, once again with Tom Barratt as vocalist), Arthur Roseberry and His Kit-Cat Dance Band (as Will Perry’s Orchestra, with vocals by Len Lees), and Percival Mackey’s Band (with singer Fred Douglas). “Let’s Do It” was also recorded as a part of “Wake Up and Dream” medleys by the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra (Carroll Gibbons dir.) and Bert and John Firman’s London Orchestra.

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"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.