When I heard about this book I thought to myself :”Michael Feinstein must have been in his crib when he met the Gershwins!” But, no–he was in his
early twenties when he met Ira Gershwin. The book was written in 2012 and dedicated to Ira.
This book was a birthday gift–and it is perfectly delightful. The byline says that the book is written in “twelve songs” instead of chapters, get it?
The songs are Gershwin standards:
1. Strike Up the Band
2. The Man I Love
4. I’ve Got a Crush on You (you’re humming already, right?)
5. They All Laughed
6.Someone To Watch Over Me
7. Embraceable You
8. Who Cares?
9.I Got Plenty of Nuttin’
10.They Can’t Take That Away from Me
11.I Got Rhythm
12. Love Is Here to Stay
“Gershwin songs still resonate. They are part of our society. Many years ago the legendary writers Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks were working on a television program together when Carl announced he had to visit a doctor. When Reiner returned, Mel asked about the diagnosis. ‘The doctor said I’ve got
arrhyythimia, said Carl. ‘Who could ask for anything more?” was Mel’s instant rejoinder.”
Feinstein’s book opens with a short history of the Gershwin family and their
arrival in New York from a Russian ghetto. They changed their name several times to make it sound more American.
“And vy not?” quips Feinstein.
And we’re off! This is the kind of book where you spend most of your time reading aloud to whoever is in the room—-“Listen to this!!” and so forth.
The brothers were a team–George wrote the music, Ira wrote the lyrics. One time George composed a short bit of music–three short notes and then a long one. He asked Ira to make some words to it. Ira suggested he change it to
FIVE short notes and a long one. And, voila!
“The way you wear your ——- hat———
The way you sip your———– tea————
The memory of all that—-
You can’t take that away from me!” was born!!!!
See? you just have to tell someone about it!
The book carries us along from the early shows in the 1920s up through the years and the brothers’ alliance with Fred Astaire—a natural for the songs-
with *tons* of photographs along the way and great shots of early sheet music covers–the graphics are fun.-
and continues on into the 1950s and later with Feinstein’s take on the way the Gershwin songs have been performed by Sinatra, Judy Garland, etc.
I am hoping you can find a copy to while away your winter in the most
delightful way———-Amazon has it, and our library has it–maybe yours does, too. When you buy the book, included is a cd of Feinstein playing the music.