Words & music by Cole Porter (1944)
The Seven Lively Arts was a Broadway revue starring Beatrice Lillie that featured songs by Cole Porter, ballet music by Igor Stravinsky, scenery by Salvador Dali, and a pit orchestra conducted by Benny Goodman. The show played at the Zeigfeld Theater, which had a foyer decorated by Dali to illustrate each of the seven lively arts: architecture, painting, sculpture, dance, drama, music and literature.
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, a haunting ballad, is the only song from the overwrought production to survive as a standard, and this composition is often used as an example of words and music in a perfect marriage. It begins with an unusual feature – a single note repeated eight times, and the harmonies that follow are constantly shifting. Most critics maintain that this is among the very finest of Cole Porter’s songs. The words are particularly evocative, expressing the sentiments of lovers parting.
Ev'ry time we say goodbye, I die a little.
Ev'ry time we say goodbye, I wonder why a little.
Why the gods above me, who must be in the know,
Think so little of me, they allow you to go.
When you’re near, there’s such an air of spring about it,
I can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about it,
There’s no love song finer, but how strange the change from major to minor,
Ev’ry time we say goodbye.