Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

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"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is a song written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates. The song is most famous for its “You like to-may-toes /təˈmtz/ and I like to-mah-toes /təˈmɑːtz/” and other verses comparing their different regional dialects.

The differences in pronunciation are not simply regional, however, but serve more specifically to identify class differences. At the time, typical American pronunciations were considered less "refined" by the upper-class, and there was a specific emphasis on the "broader" a sound. This class distinction with respect to pronunciation has been retained in caricatures, especially in the theater, where the longer a pronunciation is most strongly associated with the word "darling."

The song was ranked No. 34 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs.

Notable recordings

  • Billie Holiday – Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 (1937)
  • Sam Cooke – Tribute to the Lady (1959)
  • Ella Fitzgerald – on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook (1959), on the 1983 Pablo release Nice Work If You Can Get It, and in a 1957 duet with Louis Armstrong on Ella and Louis Again.
  • Fred Astaire with Johnny Green & His Orchestra (1937)
  • Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (2010)
  • Uri Caine – Rhapsody in Blue (2013)
  • The song has been re-used in filmmaking and television production, most notably in When Harry Met Sally... – where it is performed by Harry Connick, Jr. – and The Simpsons. It was featured in the 2012 Broadway Musical Nice Work If You Can Get It.

    References

    Let's Call the Whole Thing Off Wikipedia


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