Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ira Gershwin

There’s a somebody I’m longin’ to see
I hope that he
Turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me . . .
Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead
Oh, how I need
Someone to watch over me
This song is from the 1926 musical "Oh Kay!"  It has been recorded by dozens of singers, including Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Willie Nelson, Renee Olstead, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Brian Wilson, and Amy Winehouse.

Ira Gershwin, who died on this date in 1983, wrote the lyrics to this song and many other wonderful songs (including "I Got Rhythm" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me").  His younger brother, George, wrote the music.  After George's sudden death in 1937 -- he was only 38 -- Ira stopped writing for nearly three years, but eventually started working with other composers.

It's truly a mystery how one of two brothers could be one of the greatest lyricists in the history of American popular music, while the other brother could be one of the greatest composers.

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