Posts Tagged ‘ Buddy De Sylva ’

Gershwin sounds

George GershwinHaving spent the spring immersed in The Sound of Gershwin, I have come through without hating his music, which has to be some sort of achievement.  Indeed, the show introduced me to a whole host of songs I’d either never heard or had completely forgotten, and reminded me why I love some of the perennial favourites.  Here, then, is a highly subjective and personal baker’s dozen of Gershwin songs which are well worth getting to know.  Songs only, as Rhapsody in Blue rather goes without saying. 

13. I’d Rather Charleston. A delightful bit of ephemera from the Jazz Age, introduced by Fred and Adele Astaire in Lady Be Good and used to great effect in Kenneth Branagh’s version of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  It’s a great ‘battle’ duet with the singers each trying to persuade the other to do something – in this case, Fred wants Adele to study, but Adele just wants to Charleston.  The lyric is by Desmond Carter, which is a bit of a mystery to me, as the rest of the show’s score had Ira Gershwin lyrics.  Pointless, but great fun, and it makes wonderful music to dance to, oddly enough – surely it couldn’t have been an excuse for a routine?

12. How Long Has This Been Going On?  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how good a song this really is, and it should certainly be docked points for including the word ‘ninny’ in the lyrics (really, Ira, what were you thinking?), but Audrey Hepburn’s rendition of it in the film of Funny Face is absolutely charming.

11. I Got Rhythm.  This one doesn’t need much introduction, really, as it’s one of the Gershwin brothers’ best known songs.  From Girl Crazy, which also introduced But Not For Me, Bidin’ My Time, Treat Me Rough and Embraceable You, all marvellous songs, this song is the one which made Ethel Merman a star.  It’s worth tracking down her version just to marvel at the lung power on display.  It’s not a sophisticated song, but it makes me smile, and the introductory verse, including the immortal line “I’m chipper all the day” makes the song extra special, even if most people leave it out these days.

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