Top Hat, White Tie and Tails

"Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" is a popular song written by Irving Berlin for the 1935 film Top Hat, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire.

The song title refers to the formal wear required on a party invitation: top hat, white tie, and a tailcoat. Popular recordings in 1935 were by Fred Astaire and by Ray Noble and his Orchestra (vocal by Al Bowlly and The Freshmen).[1]

Other notable recordingsEdit

Other appearancesEdit

The popular Norwegian meteorologist Kristian Trægde sang the song (and step-danced to it) on the TV show Skjemtegauken, in 1968.[5]

In 1977 ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev sang the song on The Muppet Show, complete with tap dancing.[6] In another episode, Gonzo tap danced to the song as well – except in a vat of oatmeal.

In Episode 1 of the ninth season of M*A*S*H, "The Best of Enemies", the character Hawykeye is singing "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" in the first scene.

In a 1982 episode of Three's Company, Jack dances to the song while drunk at a party, and knocks things over as he does so.

The song is performed in 1989's Secret Policeman's Third Ball by comedian/satirist Willie Rushton, accompanied by Richard Vranch on piano, with Rushton dressing according to the lyrics of the song, noting that the lyrics neglect to mention the donning of trousers.

In the 1995 film Batman Forever, the character Edward Nigma sings a brief parody of "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" using the lyrics "I'm, sucking up your I.Q., vacuuming your cortex, feeding off your brain."[7]

The Fred Astaire version of the song makes an appearance in the 2000 film Billy Elliot.[8]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 598. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  2. ^ "The Boswell Sisters Discography". Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "". Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  5. ^ NRK 1: Med lisens til å glede, July 24, 2010.
  6. ^ McKim, D. W.; Brian Henson. "Muppet Central Guides - The Muppet Show: Rudolf Nureyev". Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  7. ^ Carey, Jim. "Batman Forever". Youtube. Fandango/Google. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved March 30, 2020.