Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!


The Lady is a Tramp

First popular recording by Tommy Dorsey & His Clambake 7 with Edythe Wright (1937).
Hit/popular versions by Sophie Tucker (US #19 1937), Frank Sinatra (1957), Ella Fitzgerald (1957), Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (US #121/UK #188/BEL #21/JPN #33 2011).
Also recorded by Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters (1937), Carl Perkins (1960), Alice Cooper (1974).
Also recorded (as “Maureen is a Champ”) by Frank Sinatra (1968).

From the wiki: “‘The Lady is a Tramp’ was a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenzo Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song is a spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is ‘I get too hungry for dinner at eight…’). Early recordings from 1937 include one by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (featuring Edythe Wright on vocals), Midge Williams and Her Jazz Jesters, and Sophie Tucker.

“Lena Horne recorded the song with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Orchestra on March 30, 1948. Her performance appeared in the film, Words and Music, a fictionalized biography of the partnership of Rodgers and Hart. In 1957, Ella Fitzgerald covered ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ for the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers & Hart Song Book. Jazz pianist Carl Perkins recorded an instrumental version in 1960.

“Frank Sinatra first recorded ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ for his 1957 album A Swingin’ Affair! but the song was bumped for the album’s release and was used instead for the soundtrack to Sinatra’s movie adaptation of Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey. It became something of a signature song for Sinatra. He’d later sing the song with new lyrics as ‘The Gentleman is a Champ’ at tribute events for Spiro Agnew and Orson Welles, and also recorded a new version titled ‘Maureen is a Champ’ for Ringo Starr’s wife Maureen Starkey, a big Sinatra fan, for her 22nd birthday, with new lyrics written by Sammy Cahn (e.g. ‘She sleeps with Ringo … but she thinks of [me]. That’s why the lady is a champ’). Although it was pressed on the Beatles’ Apple Records label as ‘APPLE 1’, it was never commercially released and the master tape was eventually destroyed.

“The song appeared in the studio segment which opened the 1974 feature film Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper starring Alice Cooper. Movie producer Joe Gannon described the concept as ‘Play the song, get mad, break up the set and storm out’ before segueing into far less ‘family-friendly’ Alice Cooper performances.

“Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded a version of this song for his 2011 album Duets II, and together performed the song live on ABC’s Thanksgiving special dedicated to, written, directed, produced and hosted by Gaga entitled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. The song, even though not officially released as a single, entered the Japan Hot 100, where it has managed to peak at #33; it has also entered the Top 200 extension to the UK Singles Chart.”

Sophie Tucker, “The Lady is a Tramp” (1937):

Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters, “The Lady is a Tramp” (1937):

Lena Horne, “The Lady is a Tramp” from Words and Music (1948):

Frank Sinatra, “The Lady is a Tramp” (1957):

Ella Fitzgerald, “The Lady is a Tramp” (1957):

Carl Perkins, “The Lady is a Tramp” (1960):

Alice Cooper, “The Lady is a Tramp” performance from Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper (1974):

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, “The Lady is a Tramp” official video (2011):

Frank Sinatra, “Maureen is a Champ” (1968):

Comments are closed.