I Gotta Take My Hat Off to You

Kay Swift was the staff composer at Radio City Music Hall in 1935 when she composed “I Gotta Take My Hat Off to You” for Russell Markert’s Black and White Revue. My research came up fairly empty on that show, but I did find this wonderful photo of Russell Markert himself prepping the Rockettes for a new routine.

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Russell Makert and the Rockettes, 1946

Russell was the choreographer who founded the Rockettes in 1925 after seeing the British dance troupe, the Tiller Rockets, perform on Broadway a few years earlier. The American Rockets (and/or Roxyettes), as they were known at the time, moved to Radio City Music Hall in 1932 and in 1934 finally landed on the familiar moniker of the Rockettes.

According to the Dance Teacher website:

“In the early years, Markert made a new show three or four times a month. The dancers performed four times a day. Rehearsals began at 7:00 a.m. sharp, and the pace was relentless.”

How I Almost Misrecorded This Song

Every time I listen to the recording of this song in the SoundCloud link below, I am blown away at how great Alex Hassan makes it sound! It puts my GarageBand demos to such shame. But you almost didn’t get to hear the song at all, because I didn’t hit the record button at the start of his performance< and I only noticed after he had gotten to the chorus!

Fortunately, I was able to cut and paste a few bars that I failed to record but that were later repeated in the song, so we now have a complete chorus of “I Gotta Take My Hat Off to You”! To hear the verse, you will have to download the sheet music below, and do your best Alex Hassan impersonation. Good luck (you’re gonna need it!)

Download the PDF of the simplified sheet music to “I Gotta Take My Hat Off to You” here: I Gotta Take Off My Hat to You

And now, through the magic of YouTube, here’s Alex Hassan in living color at the impromptu home recording of “I Gotta Take Off My Hat to You”!

Lyrics to “I Gotta Take Off My Hat to You” by Al Silverman:

Verse: Do you recall our meeting?
Right at the very start
I took an awful beating.
I mean you took my heart.
I thought that I could hold out
Against a guy like you.
But now it’s clear I’m sold out.
Sad but true.
Hard to understand it,
But I gotta hand it to you.

Chorus 1: I despise conventionality.
Have no patience with formality,
But I gotta take off my hat to you.
I break all the rules of etiquette.
I’m a yokel from Connecticut,
But I gotta take off my hat to you.
Though it’s true I’m kinda lofty,
Still with you I’m just a softy,
‘Cause I do just what you want me to do.
From my shoes up to the hat o’ me,
You control my whole anatomy,
So I gotta take off my hat to you.

Chorus 2: I’m no model of propriety.
I don’t mingle with society,
But I gotta take off my hat to you.
You bring out the Jekyll side in me.
Put to rout the Mister Hyde in me,
So I gotta take off my hat to you.
Though I’m kinda distant,
Still with you I’m non-resistant,
‘Cause I do just what you want me to do.
When your charms begin to weaken me,
I lose all that stubborn streak in me,
So I gotta take off my hat to you.

One response to “I Gotta Take My Hat Off to You

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