The Man We Love: A George Gershwin Birthday Celebration

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! In honor of the 116th anniversary of George Gershwin’s birthday coming up this Friday, I wanted to take today’s post to share a few of the legendary composer’s lesser known fascinating rhythms. Though Broadway is never long without some of the Gershwin brothers’ tunes, they’re always the same. (I’m not a huge fan of the jukebox Gershwin shows.) It’s time to dig a little deeper.

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01) “Anything For You” from A Dangerous Maid (1921) [L: Ira Gershwin]

This wonderfully charming tune was written for a nearly forgotten 1921 musical comedy that never made it to Broadway. The only recording of this number, which is featured above, is by Michael Feinstein.

02) “Nashville Nightingale” from Nifties of 1923 [L: Irving Caesar]

I’ve featured this hot peppy tune in one of my first Wildcard posts. Barbara Cook has sung and recorded this number several times over the years, but I’m wild about this 1927 recording by the Piccadilly Revels.

03) “Berkeley Square And Kew” from Primrose (1924) [L: Desmond Carter] 

Here’s a comic duet about a couple who intends to take separate residences when they marry. These original orchestrations, sung on radio by Jeanne Lehman and Brian Gow, are by George himself.

04) “My Sunday Fella” from Show Girl (1929) [L: Gus Kahn & Ira Gershwin]

This REALLY forgotten musical comedy featured Ruby Keeler and Jimmy Durante (and may be featured really soon on Musical Theatre Monday). The only known recording of this number is by Victoria Hart.

05) “Ask Me Again” (1930-ish) [L: Ira Gershwin]

Possibly intended for a never produced show entitled East Is West (or maybe even 1930’s Girl Crazy), Ira considered this the best of his brother’s unpublished tunes. Michael Feinstein was the first to resurrect it.

06) “Pardon My English” from Pardon My English (1933) [L: Ira Gershwin]

Though this is the title tune from one of the first shows I covered on Musical Theatre Monday, I did not feature the song in that post. From the second version of the show (the one that actually played New York), this tune has never been recorded. This is a live audio from the 2004 Encores! production.

07) “I Was Doing All Right” from the film The Goldwyn Follies (1938) [L: Ira Gershwin]

One of the last songs George ever wrote, I’ve always been partial to this ordinary number that somehow captivates. This recording by original film cast member Ella Logan has been featured here before.

 

 

Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!

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