"Cocktails for Two" is a song from the Big Band era, written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow. The song debuted in the movie Murder at the Vanities (1934), where it was introduced by singer and actor Carl Brisson. Duke Ellington's version of the song was recorded in 1934 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007.
The song seems to refer to the ending of Prohibition in the United States. Mentioned discreetly in the song's introduction is that people could be "carefree and gay once again". The song was written in 1934, and the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition, was ratified a year earlier in 1933.
"Cocktails for Two" is best remembered today due to the comic, sound effects-laden version by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. The Slickers first recorded it in 1944 with Carl Grayson supplying the vocal. It was their biggest all-time hit, reaching number 4 on the charts, according to Joel Whitburn. Sam Coslow hated Jones' irreverent treatment. Even so, the recording's success earned him large royalties.
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards (Paul Weston and Jo Stafford) also lampooned the song on their first LP, The Piano Artistry of Jonathan Edwards, released in 1957.
Other covers include Zarah Leander's Swedish version for Odeon in 1934, Tommy Dorsey's swing version for Victor (#26145) on October 31, 1938, and Bing Crosby's performance for CBS radio on June 20, 1955.
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