Love for Sale (song)

"Love for Sale" is a song by Cole Porter introduced by Kathryn Crawford in the musical The New Yorkers, which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances.[1] The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising "love for sale".

"Love for Sale"
Song by The Peddlers
Released1930 (1930)
Songwriter(s)Cole Porter

Early versionsEdit

The song's chorus, like many in the Great American Songbook, is written in the A-A-B-A format. However, instead of 32 bars, it has 64, plus an 8-bar tag. The tag is often dropped when the song is performed. The tune, like many of Porter's, shifts between a major and minor feeling.[citation needed] The A section is in the key of B-flat minor before modulating to B-flat major and back.[2]


When the song came out in 1930, a newspaper labelled it as 'in bad taste';[3] radio stations avoided broadcasting it.[4] Because of the complaints, Porter shifted the setting of the song in the musical to the Cotton Club in Harlem, where it was sung by an African-American, Elisabeth Welch, instead of white singer Kathryn Crawford.[5]

Popular recordings in 1931 were made by Libby Holman and by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians.[6] The Jack Teagarden Orchestra recorded the song in February 1940, with Kitty Kallen as the featured vocalist.[7]

Notable recordingsEdit

It is also widely recorded as a jazz standard. Notable instrumental versions included those by Sidney Bechet, Erroll Garner, Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker, The Three Sounds, Art Tatum, Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, and Cecil Taylor. There is a version of the song by Hal Kemp's Orch. & The Smoothies, 1940.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Internet Broadway Database". Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Love For Sale". Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  3. ^ Schwartz, Charles (1979). Cole Porter. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80097-7, pp. 115–116
  4. ^ a b Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  5. ^ Yaffe, David (2006). Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing. Princeton University Press. Chapter 4. ISBN 978-1-40082-680-3.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 543. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  7. ^ Shaw, M., Rust, B. (2002). Jazz and Ragtime Records, 1897-1942: L-Z. United States: Mainspring Press.
  8. ^ "". Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "Songs For Sale - Vic Godard & The Subway Sect".

External linksEdit