Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Gershwin

Today marks George Gershwin's entrance into the world and into the great American Songbook.

To say that you're a fan of Gershwin is like saying that you're a fan of air. You can't miss hearing his music.

My first memory of being actually aware of who wrote all of these songs was when I saw An American in Paris.

Talk about an aural and visual orgy. Apart from the Ballet sequence which was the closest thing to a LSD trip ever (well until a few years later), the song I remember the most was "Our Love is Here to Stay".

I was entranced as Gene Kelly serenaded Leslie Caron along the banks of La Seine. This was George Gershwin's last hit song, published after his death in 1937.  His first "hit" was "Swanee" written in 1919 and made popular by Al Jolson.

 His contribution to the movie musical was enormous! Think Fred Astaire and the movie "Shall We Dance": which introduced "They Can't Take that Away From Me" and "They All Laughed".

Aside from these popular hits, Gershwin was also known to write a few classical ditties: "Rhapsody in Blue", "An American In Paris", and "Porgy and Bess" may ring a bell.

He was an artist whose genius was only surmounted by his alledged ego. However, unlike many of today's Divas, it was justified.

What's your favourite Gershwin tune?

Gershwin's first Hit: Swanee!

Say "It Ain't Necessarily So", Jimmy.

Frankie sings: Our Love is Hear to Stay.


  1. My favorite is "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (which for the longest time I thought was Porky and Best!) It portrays everything about summer; the heat, sweat rolling down your neck into your cleavage, longer days, lounging around, the beauty of women in summer clad clothes but mostly, the energy, light and hope that the sun brings to our lives.
    Happy birthday Mister Gershwin!

  2. "Porky & Best" - I love it. Should do a post on mistaken lyrics and titles. I've got a few good ones as well.
    There are so many classic songs to choose from. Summertime, whether it's sung classically or à la Janis, is so emotive.


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