Forum - General Questions

Sleuth 1972/ Cole Porter featured songs - who sings them?

I have been trying to find out for years the man who performs the Cole Porter songs featured in the movie Sleuth - 1974, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier: "You do something to me", "Just one of those things" and "Anything goes".
The movie opening and ending credits only mention Music&Lyrics Cole Porter next to these three song titles. The movie soundtrack also does not include these songs, only the music composed and conducted by John Addison.
I have listened to internet samples of these songs sung by various artists, but have not found a conclusive match, not even that it would be Cole Porter himself. The voice of the man singing supposedly on radio in the movie is warm and melodious, whereas Cole Porter's is a higher pitched one, though I can't tell for sure.
Can anyone help with the mystery guy?

gloriotski, August 3, 2006; 9:56 AM


That's strange. I've checked all available sources but nobody really seems to know.

coma, August 4, 2006; 8:53 PM

Unfortunately, I am unable to help you. The only scrap of information I can offer originates from (and you will have checked that site thoroughly, I bet): The arranger of the songs is
Gary Hughes.

Is it possible for you to upload some 30-sec-samples? I have never watched the movie, so I
must ask whether the singer comes into view or not.

Christian.Quatremain, August 4, 2006; 9:24 PM

Tx, you two. Good lead the Gary Hughes one, but unfortunately he's dead or I'd have written him. Don't have samples of the songs as they are featured in the movie, I always had the movie on a video tape, but the idea is that they are heard on the radio one of the characters has in his house, they play in the background while he's preparing a snack in the kitchen, can be heard pretty well, two of them in full and seem to be sung by the same man. No one ever shows on screen other than Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. It could be Fred Astaire for all I know, I don't know much about classical jazz, but it's someone soft spoken, and the orchestration like in Cole Porter's days, smth. like that, not very modern anyway.

gloriotski, August 5, 2006; 7:06 PM

I haven't seen the movie for years - although it's one of my all-time favorites - but I still have
the music in mind. I'm completely sure that none of the renditions is by Fred Astaire. A
similar discussion on suggested Al Jolson as the interpreter of Anything Goes but
this does not sound very convincing too.

To me it's much more likely that this track was performed by Cole Porter himself or perhaps
by Mel Tormé.
At least all songs were written by Cole Porter who frequently interpreted his own songbook.
These recordings are still available.

Isn't there any mention in the end credits?

coma, August 5, 2006; 11:01 PM

I guess it could be Cole Porter singing those songs, but I don't know, after listening to some samples on of his rendition of Anything goes and You're the top, his voice sounded somewhat "screechier" than that of the guy in Sleuth, but hell, what can I tell from a 30 sec sample :) As I said before, opening and ending credits only mention "Music & Lyrics Cole Porter", one can understand anything from this. Mel Torme is an interesting suggestion, I listened to some samples and his voice is indeed soft, but the orchestration sounds more like Frank Sinatra's times than Cole Porter's.

gloriotski, August 7, 2006; 10:00 AM

Puzzling indeed. I think the only ones who could possibly offer a solution to this riddle are the
owner of the rights:

The Cole Porter Trusts
1285 Avenue of the Americas
Room 13130
New York, New York 10019
Phone: (212) 373-2325, Fax: (212) 373-2831

If you should decide to contact them or find any other evidence, I'd be very curious to know!

coma, August 7, 2006; 11:20 AM

A-ha, very interesting, the Cole Porter Trusts lead, will give it a try, many tx. Someone also suggested I write the movie's producing company which I looked up to be 20th Century Fox, maybe one of these'll give smth. before I give in :)

gloriotski, August 7, 2006; 2:00 PM

I wonder if any progress has been made on this - many of us on IMDb are wondering about the soundtrack. Who is the performer, what year, label etc? Please help.

p43531, September 24, 2007; 4:24 PM

One of the biggest soundtrack mysteries of our times. Hmmm... this is quite the question. For all of you who are suggesting that Mel Torme is a possibility I would seriously re-consider your speculations. This recording is clearly an early 1930's recording and surely not the vocals of an Italian from the early 1950's.
It would have been very appropriate for the producers to use a 1930's recording of these Porter songs since the theme of Andrew Wykes detective fiction stories are all set in the 1930's. --Milo Tindle says, "Ahhh, tunes you could hum to". Andrew Wyke replies, "It was a time for humming my dear Milo". Perhaps here lye the clues.
I've been trying to find the performer of these three songs for years and only recently have I entertained a consideration that this performer is quite possibly British. After all, this was set in England!
By 1937 in the United States we had the emergence of the Great Band Era. At the same time in England they had the British Dance Bands. If you listen to the vocals of Al bowley ( who sang for Ray Noble and his orchaestra --UK--) they sound very much like the same person. A reference point for this vocalist is the song "Midnight, the stars, and you" from the ballroom scene in Stanley Kubrick's, "The Shinning". You can find this song on Youtube, or atleast the artist.... so let's figure this damn thing out, guys!

mcneal_182, July 10, 2009; 6:46 PM

By golly, mcneal_182, you just might be on to something here. I went on youtube and listened to Al Bowlly and the Ray Nobles orchestra and they do sound a lot like the Cole Porter songs in Sleuth, both in point of orchestration and voice. You wrote on my bday, wouldn't it be nice if on my 35th bday I finally found the answer to the mystery, thought I'd die and never know who sang those songs :) I'll look more into it now I have new leads, thanks!

gloriotski, July 11, 2009; 7:02 AM

The more I'm going through my own personal Ray Noble collection the less I'm considering Al Bowlly as a possibility. However, I've been researching this all night and I may have more of a lead.
I'm quite certain, as I said before, that the vocalist and orchestra is British. Which one could it be? I think I may of a strong contender. His name is Sam Browne. It looks as if through the early 1930's he performed most with Ambrose and his Orchestra and the Durium Dance Band. The vocals are nearly spot on, and, the time period is just right. 1932-1934. --("The Golden Age of Detective Fiction. When every cabinet minister had a detective story by his bedside, as our friend Andrew Wyke said)--
The recordings are either HMV (His Masters Voice) recordings or they are Durium Recordings; Durium had their own band, "The Durium Dance Band", as I mentioned before. Anyhow, I'm going to give you a couple of links to follow up with and you can let me know what you think.

1. This following link is of the Durium Dance Band with Sam Browne as the vocalist, I think. You can let me know how close to home this may or may not be--

2. This link will take you to a British music website where there's a Cd for sale of rare and hard to find vocalists of Cole Porter music. I think this might be it, buddy. You'll find that the 21st track on the title selection is of Sam Browne performing, "It was just one of those things; the first Cole Porter song we hear in the movie. So check it out, order the Cd, and let me know If we found our mystery man :) --Happy Birthday! -- The link is below and Good Luck!!

mcneal_182, July 11, 2009; 6:03 PM

I'm sure you all are tired from hearing from me at this point but I just wanted to say that, after some thought, I'm determining that the answer to this age old question may not have an answer after all.

When a film maker uses music for a film (as the three cole porter numbers used in Sleuth) they have to respect certain copyright laws. First, you have publisher rights. Secondly, you have performer rights. third, there are rights to those who recorded the music. Then you have the songwriters rights.

The only credit which is given is to Cole Porter. This means there's no publisher/Performer/or recorder rights which are recognized. So what does this mean? ...Well this possibly means that the music was created specifically for the movie by the producers w/ an agreement to keep the performer a "mystery man" without facing legal battles. Although the music, itself, sounds authentically old, this doesn't mean it is. They could have used old techniques of recording fused w/ old styles of singing. Who knows.

I'm not suggesting we quit our research... but do keep this in mind as a possibility, if nothing else.

If you've kept up w/ my posts, the last suggestions for performers are not the ones we're looking for. I had mentioned a Sam Browne accompanied by Ambrose and his Orchestra but, after ordering their music, I've discovered these are not our men. So the search is still up. Please help if you have an info. Thanks again!

mcneal_182, October 7, 2009; 1:12 PM

I think the answer to this would be welcomed by hundreds of fans. This was my introduction to
Porter's wonderful songs in 70s. Please be sure to post if anything comes to light.

jonrendell, December 7, 2009; 5:24 PM

Yes, please. I'd be very interested to finally get to know the answer to this riddle. And maybe
we're lucky enough, to see an official release of the film music.

coma, December 7, 2009; 5:27 PM

Come on, folks! I need some help here. I'm very, very busy right now and not as able to investigate this question/mystery. I'm glad there's so much interest out there... but to find out this question we must do more than discuss how much of a mystery it is and how nice it would be to find out.
I've gone above and beyond w/ my investigation. I've ordered music, I've called the Cole Porter headquarters in NY, I've studied the movie music from orchestra to vocal, and the list goes on and on.
PLEASE help as much as you possibly can. Let us all be Sleuths! We can do this!

mcneal_182, September 14, 2010; 11:09 AM

My wife and I are very big fans of this movie as well and have wondered WHO the vocal is for a long time.
Lets not rule out "Michael Caine" himself! HE can sing and could have been done just for this movie, the entire songs are not sung, only portions of them...

edhilder, November 10, 2010; 12:14 PM

They're lovely big band renditions of the songs with a singer with a
lovely voice, but I suspect they were created especially for the film;
particularly since Anything Goes misses out all the introductory
material of the song ("Plymouth Rock" etc). But if this is the case, it's
strange that they weren't put on the OST release.

Someone's compiled them into a youtube clip:

dehanyaj, November 5, 2013; 10:40 AM

Hello there, I´m a big fan of this movie too and i would like to know who is the mistery singer too. Well, like lieutenant Columbo used to say ¨just one more thing¨, here is another clue: at the beginning of the movie you can see the credits roll and read Words and Music by Cole Porter, but in very very little letters (you need the high definition version of this movie available in Youtube and a manifying glass, ¨the traditional tool of your trade¨) and you can read clearly: By arrangement with Warner Brothers Publishing. I guess nobody noticed this very very little detail , so now it´s up to you all, honourable sleuths out there, and follow this new clue and solve the mistery.
Good Luck and my best wishes.

carlosbb572009, December 14, 2013; 7:00 PM

What about Pat o’malley with the Jack Hylton Orchestra? Sounds exactly the same, doesn't it? British orchestra. Couldn't fin ant recording of the Porter's though.

juliendoumenjou, March 11, 2015; 2:05 PM

Hope this helps?

You Do Something To Me
Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

Just One Of Those Things
Richar Himber and his Ritz-Carlton Orchestra

Anything Goes very elusive? Although the version here is good.

From Cole Porter - A Centenary Tribute 1891/1991

swh1962, October 15, 2015; 7:44 AM

I used the Soundhound app to identify the songs, and the only one that
came up was the last song played which is "Anything Goes". What
came up was Cresent City Orchestra on Cole Porter Songbook. Hope
that helps. I too have been looking for the answer to this question. I
find it odd that it wasn't mentioned on the films credits who sang the
song. I love those great songs from a bygone era. Now, we have to
find them on CD, iTunes or Amazon, hopefully.

jameslaceyfx, February 26, 2016; 10:29 AM

Just found one of the song's on iTunes "You Do Something to Me"
featured on the soundtrack for "Magic in the Moonlight". Only one
thing, you have to buy the entire soundtrack. However, they are period
songs so you may like them as well. Keep the search for the other two

jameslaceyfx, February 26, 2016; 10:39 AM

I searched for many years myself for the Cole Porter songs
that were in the movie sleuth that Sir Laurence Olivier was
listening to while eating caviar and biscuits and I finally found
one that is the exact song and that is "anything goes" and I
found it on Amazon music $1.29 but I had to sift through a
whole bunch of songs of the same name before I found the
exact one in the movie then I search for the same sounding
song you do something to me by cold water but never could
find it's even on Amazon or anywhere else please tell me also
if you find that one since I just gave you the exact one to find
you only have to sit through about 10 to find it you'll know
when you hear it that its the same one from the movie why
they don't have the other one I can't explain so get back to me
and let me know also thanks

ginodaloisio, March 5, 2016; 12:54 AM

I'm pretty certain these are modern recordings.

There are a number of giveaways, if you listen closely:

- The arrangements of "You Do Something to Me" and "Anything Goes" do not stylistically fit the big band music of the period in that they start with a vocal verse instead of an instrumental verse. More significantly, in "Anything Goes" there are multiple instrumental verses after the vocal verse, which very conveniently occur exactly when the characters in the film start talking.
- The length of "You Do Something to Me" is barely over 2 minutes, short for a 78 of this style.
- The acoustic bass, on all the numbers, is very loud and well defined in the mix. Recording technology was not sufficiently advanced in the 30s to capture a rich bass sound like this.
- The snare fill played by the drummer at the beginning of "Anything Goes" (right after the bell rings), is uncharacteristic of the period. It's also quite loud and trebly, which wasn't easily captured in older recordings.
- In the same song, in the first measure of the verse the guitar and bass play a figure with a strong backbeat that would sound more common in the rock era--rhythm sections didn't play like this in the 30's.

I'm far from an expert on 1930's recordings or big-band music, but after listening to it on good headphones I think these are very well done fakes done by studio pros. I certainly could be wrong, but that so many people have been interested in this question and it hasn't been easily resolved makes it more likely that these vintage recordings don't actually exist. It's still a wonderful film.

Your most humble servant,
St. John Lord Merridew

lyncounion, January 15, 2017; 2:09 AM

We've been trying to figure out an answer (for months now) here,
based in part on the leads raised in this very thread: here's the thread
on IMDb, but that site is unfortunately taking down its message boards
later this month. So look at it while you can!

I then moved the most important of the postings there to this board,
organized by some IMDb posters as a successor:

Just thought I'd let everyone here now: "Lyncounion" here
substantiated a number of theories that were brought up here. I e-
mailed someone who worked on the film, Graham V. Hartstone, but he
was unfortunately unable to shed any light on the subject. So--if
anyone here has any more information (with the caveat that the singer
will be more difficult to find if the songs were sung just for the movie--
still, someone had to sing them!), I would be much obliged!

nalkarj, February 5, 2017; 4:22 AM

I believe it was Frank Luther (singer) and Leo Reisman (orchestra) in
a mid-to-late 1930's recording. The c. 1930-February Reisman
Orchestra recording (with Luther on vocals) is a FOX TROT - which is
not the rhythm of the version used in the movie Sleuth. The version
in the movie is a "smoother" (less bouncy - less fox-trottish) Jazz-
swing version.

The 1920's were generally "rougher" than the more
polished 1930's/ early 1940's version of "jazz / swing." So, what I
believe we are looking for is a LATER RECORDING of the song... NOT
in fox trot syncopation/ tempo. But, we still want Frank Luther as
vocalist - as that seems an exact match. However, we might be able
to disregard Leo Reisman's orchestra.

As to whether every recorded
version was saved and/ or indexed and published... who knows.
But, I believe everything points to this as the answer - even if the
recording is no longer preserved.

PS: Frank Luther recorded in the UK under the name "Bud Billings" -
and it is there to which I next turn my investigation. ; )

PPS: Enjoy the voice to voice bullseye! : ) But, the frustrating
up-tempo.... The movie versions is significantly "slower."

PPPS: Or is it Chick Endor? LOL

I don't think it is Chick. ; )

peterpowers123, July 16, 2017; 3:46 AM

Thanks, Peter, and excellent work!

Not to say you're wrong--you may very well be perfectly correct--but
what do you think of Lyncounion's points before?

By the way, we have news, everyone: singer Michael Feinstein and a
whole host of commenters on Facebook are looking into this mystery.

nalkarj, July 16, 2017; 6:15 PM

Someone above mentioned (J.) Pat O’Malley. I can’t find a recording of those songs by him,
either, but the voice is very, very close. Also, he made 100s of records, and those few might
just be rarities that the music editor had access to. (Just thinking out loud there, of course.)
And yes, it is the same J. Pat O’Malley who later became a slightly pudgy, lovable grandpa-
type on TV (with a gruffer voice).

arihoptman, December 26, 2017; 3:26 AM

I think I've got it... just stumbled upon this voice, and I'm blessed with perfect
pitch :).

Don Howard!

Listen on Spotify - The Hot Dance Sides 1926-1930
Or the song, "Oh Happy Day" ... I'm thinking it's that voice - but I didn't locate
any Cole Porter covers.

Hope someone's still interested! :) :)

pfmaple, August 26, 2019; 12:53 PM

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