A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 18, 2010
“The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play” (Yiddish proverb)

"The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play” is an often-cited Yiddish proverb that, in English, dates to at least 1949. The proverb has been used in government and business to describe someone who blames others instead or himself (or herself).


Google Books
Commentary
American Jewish Committee
Volume 8
1949
Pg. 180:
THE girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.

Google Books
The Cutting Edge
By Louis Kronenberger
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1970
Pg. 159:
The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play. (Yiddish proverb)

21 April 1973, Tyrone (PA) Daily Herald, pg. 6:
Yesterday’s Cryptquote: THE GIRL WHO CAN’T DANCE SAYS THE BAND CAN’T PLAY.—YIDDISH PROVERB

Google News Archive
22 July 1974, Milwaukee (WS) Sentinel, “Unfamiliar Quotations From Spare Time Wit” by Jim Bishop,
The man who can’t dance says the band can’t play.
(From Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations—ed.)

Google News Archive
22 October 1979, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, “Carter Can Still Lose But Gain” by George F. Will, pg. 6A, col. 4:
But (Ted—ed.) Kennedy is too professional to complain. (A Yiddish proverb: “The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.")

Google Books
The Columbia dictionary of quotations
By Robert Andrews
New York, NY: Columbia University Press
1993
Pg. 298:
The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.
YIDDISH PROVERB

POLITICO.com
Some too ‘obsessed’ with what we say
By ROGER SIMON | 4/16/08 11:02 PM EDT
PHILADELPHIA — You know a candidate is really feeling the heat when he starts complaining about the kitchen.

You know a candidate is having problems when he starts complaining about the process.
(...)
Obama does have a point. But it is the nature of the political process that the dramatic gets attention, and when a candidate makes a gaffe, it is going to get noticed. That is how the game goes.

There is an old saying: “The person who can’t dance says the band can’t play.” And Obama does not like the way the band has been playing lately.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, October 18, 2010 • Permalink