Tag Archives: Ella Fitzgerald

Song: “Embraceable You”

Ira wrote the words, George wrote the music, and music buyers everywhere wrote the checks. Uploaded by georgejgoodstadt.com.

This may be the ultimate example of a Gershwin song. With music by George (Great American Things, Feb. 24, 2010) and lyrics by Ira, “Embraceable You” is sophisticated, complex, and yet eminently singable.

The brothers wrote the song in 1928 for an operetta that never got published, so they pulled it out and used it in the musical Girl Crazy in 1930. Ginger Rogers sang it in the play, and it helped make her a star. Girl Crazy went on to be filmed three times, most notably in 1943 with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

(By the way, how’s this for some unheralded star power – in the original orchestra for the Broadway show were unknown musicians Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Jack Teagarden. Wow.)

Uploaded by muzieklijstjes.nl.

“Embraceable You” is one of the most frequently recorded Gershwin songs. The website jazzstandards.com ranks “Embraceable You” as the number 24 jazz standard of all time. Their highest recommendation goes to the Sarah Vaughn version, but I couldn’t find that in full on YouTube, so here’s Ella Fitzgerald with the Nelson Riddle orchestra. Hard to beat this combination…

Music: George Gershwin

Tragically, George Gershwin died of a brain tumor at age 37. Who knows what wonderful music we never got to enjoy. Uploaded by latimes.image2.trb.com.

What do you call someone who wrote endearing classical music, some of the greatest popular songs of all time, as well as a number of Broadway’s most memorable hits?

You call him Mr. Gershwin.

Gershwin quit school at age 15 to write songs in New York’s Tin Pan Alley. His first published song didn’t give a hint of the greatness to come. It was called “When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em.” His first hit was “Swanee,” made famous by Al Jolson.

George began working with his brother Ira in 1924, and they produced a string of Broadway hit Broadway productions, including Funny Face, Girl Crazy, and Of Thee I Sing, the first musical comedy to win a Pulitzer Prize (Great American Things, February 19, 2010).

Uploaded to Flickr by IrishDave500.

Even while producing popular entertainment, Gershwin was composing some of the twentieth century’s most memorable classical works, including Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris. He also wrote the American opera “Porgy and Bess,” which included some of his most sophisticated compositions, as well as such great songs as “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

Unfortunately for music lovers worldwide, Gershwin started experiencing terrible headaches and was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was only 37 when he died. But the impact he had on American music can’t be overstated. In addition to the songs noted above, his compositions also include: “But Not For Me,” “Embraceable You,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “Love Walked In,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” “They All Laughed,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” and “‘s Wonderful.”

Maybe no one sang Gershwin better than Ella Fitzgerald: