Puttin' On The Ritz: the definitive Swing song, the archetypal embodiment of 1940s silver screen showmanship, vitality and pizazz.
"I think if you distilled what a swing album should be", Robbie says, "it would sound like Puttin' On The Ritz."
The song was originally written in 1929 by legendary Broadway theatre impresario and songwriter Irving Berlin - who also wrote hits including White Christmas and There's No Business Like Show Business - and has been covered by superstars the world over ever since, including Clark Gable, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald.
But there's only one version by one particular Hollywood superstar which stands out for Robbie — someone he feels he shares a special affinity with. "Famously Fred Astaire, who I think recorded the definitive version, once went for an audition and they said ‘can’t act, can’t sing, can dance a bit’. Similar accusations have been levelled against me too, so I just tried to sing it as least as well as Fred Astaire."
Puttin' On The Ritz is yet another childhood favourite of Robbie's which he chose to cover on Swings Both Ways, inspired by a movie scene which proved an endless source of entertainment and wonder.
"I think I heard it for the first time in the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein - it used to make me laugh as a kid, and I knew that it made my dad laugh. I later learned that the original wasn’t sung by a man in a Frankenstein outfit!"
Pre-order Swings Both Ways now
Swings Both Ways is released on 18th November. Pre-order the album on iTunes and get the opening track, Shine My Shoes, instantly.
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