|(left to right) Fred Astaire, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin|
|The Gershwin brothers, George on the left, Ira on the right.|
The brothers' songs became the soundtrack to the Roaring Twenties and provided the sass to fight off the Great Depression. It was an era when the songs composed for Broadway and Hollywood were the popular songs of the day. Songs like "Embraceable You", "A Foggy Day", "I Got Rhythm", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "But Not For Me", and the last song George wrote before his untimely death at 38, "Love Is Here To Stay". Ira wrote the lyric for it, and left the business. When he was coaxed back to work three years later, he wrote lyrics for the likes of Jerome Kern ("Long Ago and Far Away"), Kurt Weil, Vernon Duke, and Harold Arlen ("The Man Who Got Away"). After the last named song, Ira retired and spent the remainder of his years gathering together, and preserving, his brother's manuscripts and memory. Thankfully, that project preserved his own works. It's time Ira got his due.
This week's radio show was devoted to the lyrics of Ira Gershwin. A lot of lesser known songs were included at the expense of some of the most famous numbers in the American songbook. As always, I hope any listeners enjoy the show.
p.s. Ira was the business manager for the brother's works. An interviewer once asked him, "Which comes first, the words, or the music?". Ira replied, "The contract."