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In his life and in his music, Cole Porter was "the top"—the pinnacle of wit, sophistication, and success. His songs—"I Get a Kick Out of You," "Anything Goes," and hundreds more—were instant pop hits, and their musical and emotional depths have made them lasting standards.
William McBrien has captured the creator of these songs, whose life was not merely one of wealth and privilege. A prodigal young man, Porter found his emotional anchor in a long, loving, if sexless marriage, a relationship he repeatedly risked with a string of affairs with men. His last eighteen years were marked by physical agony but also unstinting artistic achievement, including the great Hollywood musicals High Society, Silk Stockings, and Kiss Me Kate (recently and very successfully revived on Broadway). Here, at last is a life that informs the great music and lyrics through illuminating glimpses of the hidden, complicated, private man.