Why Can't You Behave
The Four Lads Lyrics


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Why can't you behave?
Oh, why can't you behave?
After all the things you told me,
And the promises that you gave,
Oh, why can't you behave?

Why, why, why can't you be good?
I was faithful and true but what good will it do

And do, do just as you should?

Yes you had the right touch but I was askin' too much
Won't you turn that new leaf over,
So your baby can be your slave?
Oh, why can't you behave?

There's a farm I know near my old home town,
Where we two can go and try settling down.
There I'll care for you forever,
'Cause you're all in this world I crave.




Oh, why can't you behave?
Why can't you behave?

Overall Meaning

The Four Lads’ song Why Can’t You Behave is a plea for a lover’s faithfulness and commitment. The first verse is a rhetorical question directed towards the lover who has broken promises and acted dishonestly towards the singer. The repetition of “why can’t you behave?” emphasizes how important the demand is. The second verse shifts the focus towards the singer’s own loyalty and faithfulness, but questions if it is enough to make their lover change their ways. The singer recognizes the previous strengths of their relationship but insists on change and urges their lover to “turn that new leaf over”.


The third verse contains a plan for the couple to move to the countryside and live a peaceful life together. The singer vows to care for their lover always and expresses how much they are yearning for that person - “'Cause you're all in this world I crave”- despite their shortcomings. The song ends with a repetition of the first verse, leaving the question unanswered that the singer repeats to emphasize the urgency of the matter – “why can't you behave?”.


Line by Line Meaning

Why can't you behave?
The singer is asking why the person they are addressing cannot behave properly.


Oh, why can't you behave?
The singer repeats the question, emphasizing their frustration with the situation.


After all the things you told me,
The singer is referencing the promises and declarations made by the other person.


And the promises that you gave,
The artist is highlighting that the other person made assurances that they have not kept.


Oh, why can't you behave?
The artist reiterates their question, as they are baffled by the other person's actions.


Why, why, why can't you be good?
The singer is exasperated with the other person's behavior and is demanding that they act appropriately.


I was faithful and true but what good will it do
The singer is pointing out that their own behavior has been appropriate and honest, but it has not influenced the other person's actions.


And do, do just as you should?
The artist is asking the other person to fulfill their obligations and act correctly.


Yes you had the right touch but I was askin' too much
The artist acknowledges that the other person has some positive qualities, but they are still not satisfied with their overall behavior.


Won't you turn that new leaf over,
The artist is asking the other person to make a fresh start and turn their behavior around for the better.


So your baby can be your slave?
The singer is making a playful remark, asking the other person to act properly so that they can have a good relationship.


Oh, why can't you behave?
The artist restates their earlier question, conveying their frustration with the situation.


There's a farm I know near my old home town,
The singer is referencing a specific place where they can lead a peaceful life with the other person.


Where we two can go and try settling down.
The singer wants to be with the other person in this peaceful place to try and make things right between them.


There I'll care for you forever,
The singer is making a commitment to care for the other person for the rest of their life.


'Cause you're all in this world I crave.
The artist is revealing that they want to be with the other person more than anything else in the world.


Oh, why can't you behave?
The artist repeats their question one more time, emphasizing their exasperation with the situation.


Why can't you behave?
The singer concludes the song with a restatement of their central question.




Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Cole Porter

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

ClassicDamsel

This is simply marvelous! I love the song and the scene you paired is just perfect! Thank you so, so, so much for putting this together and sharing it!

Jymster46

@ClassicDamsel You are very welcome Classic Damsel! It was fun putting this together and just watching the lovely Ann Miller and Tommy Rall do this routine over and over again was just a thrill. Thanks so much for watching it and I am so glad you liked it! Jim

Jymster46

@sorrowfulflower Hi Heather! Yes, I tried posting the whole scene of Ann Miller singing this song to Tommy Rall and then them going through this wonderful dance routine...but it was blocked. I was just happy they let me post it this way! Mr. Rall is quite the great dancer and he was also one of the brothers in "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers". In this dance when he jumps into that spin and lands doing the splits I about Freaked!! Ha! Thanks so much for watching! Jim

Jymster46

@azw596 Ha! Yes he had some behavior problems in the movie but he sure could dance! Thanks so much for watching! Jim

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