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It Takes Two To Tango

Origin of the Phrase 'it takes two to tango'

The phrase It Takes Two to Tango was made popular as a result of a 1952 song by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning named Takes Two to Tango. Two versions of the song appeared that year, one by Pearl Bailey and the other by Louis Armstrong.

The Pearl Bailey version reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 19th September 1952 where it lasted 17 weeks and peaked at number 7.


Takes Two to Tango - Pearl Bailey

The Louis Armstrong version reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 17th October 1952 where it lasted 1 week at number 28.


Takes Two to Tango - Louis Armstrong


It is interesting to note that prior to this phrase being popular, takes two to tango was used in Australia during the 1930s to mean premarital sex.

Takes Two to Tango - Pearl Bailey  Takes Two to Tango - Louis Armstrong


Takes Two To Tango - Lyrics

Hey baby, how about this dance?
Why? 'cause it takes two to do this dance!

Takes two to tango, two to tango,
two to really get the feeling of romance.
Lets do the tango, do the tango,
do the dance of love.

You can sail on a ship by yourself,
take a nap or a nip by yourself.
You can get into debt on your own,
ther's a lot of things that you can do alone!

But ...

Takes two to tango, two to tango,
two to really get the feeling of romance.
Lets do the tango, do the tango,
do the dance of love.

You can stare at the moon by yourself,
take a laugh like a loon by yourself,
spend a lot, go to pot on your own,
there's a lot of things that you can do alone!

But listen here...

Takes two to tango, two to tango,
two to really get the feeling of romance.
Lets do the tango, do the tango,
do the dance of love.

Ohh seeee...


It Takes Two To Tango - Meaning

The phrase It takes two to tango has various meanings associated with it, many of which are variations on the same theme:
  • Link: a reference about some activity that has two people which are inextricably linked; implying that the activity cannot be successfully completed unless both parties are united in a common objective.
  • Failure: assertion that the failure of some activity is caused by one or other partner refusing to participate. Particularly around infidelity.
  • Disagreement: for a dispute to exist, both parties must disagree.
  • Conspiracy: if a crime is committed by one person, then the other is guilty is well.
  • Bargain: for an agreement to work, both parties must consent.
  • Co-dependence: when both parties are completely dependant on the other.

It Takes Two To Tango - Abbreviation

The phrase is commonly abbreviated to Takes Two.