In 1937, a musical called Babes In Arms featured a song that would become a staple for Frank Sinatra, not to mention Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and the Rat Pack. The song was The Lady is a Tramp, by the Broadway songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart. It was recorded by Lena Horne in 1948, and she performed it in a film about the two famous songwriters, called Words and Music.
In the 1957 film Pal Joey, Frank Sinatra serenades Rita Hayworth with the song, and soon afterwards, it became a regular part of Frank’s nightclub and concert shows. Though it started out with a mellow arrangement with a piano lead-in, in later years the song got a new treatment with a bold horn introduction, and became one of the most exciting numbers in the Sinatra show.
Sammy also liked singing the song and performed it regularly during his concert appearances. And Dean did it too, but his version was a comical parody in which he sings the gentleman is a tramp, as part of the opening of his time on stage.
Throughout the years, The Lady is a Tramp was also associated with Ella Fitzgerald, who sang the song many times, including as a duet with Frank on one of his TV specials. And it was recorded by the Supremes in an album of Rodgers and Hart songs. Most recently, it was heard sung by two of the main characters on an episode of the TV series Glee. And there were recordings of The Lady is a Tramp by the group Yes, They Might Be Giants, and even Alice Cooper. But it will always be most associated with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
To see Frank’s performance of The Lady is a Tramp in Pal Joey, visit Rat Pack Remembered at YouTube, and to see Frank’s duet of the song with Ella Fitzgerald, visit the Frank Sinatra Tribute, also at YouTube.