George Gershwin's songs, versified mostly by his brother Ira Gershwin,
represented a step forward in rhythm and sophistication, because Gershwin
was fluent in both pop, jazz and classical music, a fact best represented by
the jazz opera Blue Monday Blues (1922), the main attraction of George White's "Scandals" in 1922,
the symphonic Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and the folk opera Porgy and Bess (1935), containing Summertime.
After writing a future Al Jolson hit, Swanee (1919), Gershwin entered
the arena of Broadway musicals with Lady Be Good (1924),
that launched the career of dancer Fred Astaire and established the trend of
having the title-song, Lady Be Good, as one of the main hits. One of the best songs,
The Man I Love (1924), was omitted and unreleased for many years.
Oh Kay (1926) included Someone To Watch Over Me and Do Do Do, two of his signature songs.
More musicals followed:
Funny Face (1927), with S'Wonderful,
Show Girl (1929), that incorporated the ballet An American in Paris,
the political satire Strike Up the Band (1930), with I've Got a Crush on You,
Girl Crazy (1930), whose Sam and Delilah and especially I Got Rhythm launched the careet of Ethel Merman (the band included Benny Goodman,
Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Jack Teargarden, Gene Krupa),
and another political satire, Of Thee I Sing (1931), the biggest hit of the decade.
His Cuban Overture (1932) was one of the first Latin pieces to become
popular in the USA.
His last hits were
They Can't Take That Away from Me, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off and Shall We Dance, from Shall We Dance (1937),
Nice Work If You Can Get It and A Foggy Day, from
A Damsel in Distress (1937), and
Love Is Here To Stay from The Goldwyn Follies (1938).
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