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"Love for Sale" is a song by Cole Porter from 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]


When the song came out in 1930, a newspaper labelled it as 'in bad taste'.[2] Radio stations avoided broadcasting it.[3] Porter took the song to the Cotton Club in Harlem where it was sung by Elisabeth Welch instead of Kathryn Crawford.[4] Popular recordings in 1931 were made by Libby Holman and by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians.[5]


In 1952 Billie Holiday recorded a version of the song.[3].[3]

Instrumental versions were recorded Sidney Bechet, Erroll Garner, Charlie Parker, and Art Tatum. There is a version of the song by Hal Kemp's Orch. & The Smoothies, 1940

Elvis Costello released a version of the tune, including the opening verse (prologue), on a Rhino re-lease of his album, "Trust".

Seal recorded a version of the song for his 2017 album Standards.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Internet Broadway Database". Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Charles (1979). Cole Porter. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80097-7, pp. 115–116
  3. ^ a b c Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  4. ^ Yaffe, David (2006). Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing. Princeton University Press. Chapter 4. ISBN 978-1-40082-680-3.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 543. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.

External linksEdit