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Ira Gershwin

Israel Gershowitz


(1896 - 1983)

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Ira Gershwin possessed the wit and genius as a lyricist to match that of his composer brother George. Such songs as “A Foggy Day,” “The Man I Love,” and “Love Is Here to Stay” represent the best of America’s music. Although older than George, Ira came to musical theater after George had enjoyed success, so he took the pen name of Arthur Francis and had his first Broadway hit with Vincent Youmans, Two Little Girls In Blue (1921).

The brothers formed a partnership that produced musicals with hits such as “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” (Lady Be Good, 1924), “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Oh, Kay! 1926) “S’Wonderful” (Funny Face, 1927), and “But Not for Me,” “Embraceable You,” and “I Got Rhythm” (Girl Crazy, 1930). In 1931 Of Thee I Sing won the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a musical.

The first American opera, Porgy and Bess (1935), on which they collaborated with DuBose Heyward, was full of memorable songs such as “Summertime.” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” from the Astaire/Rogers film Shall We Dance? (1937), was nominated for a Best Song Oscar.

George died suddenly in 1938 and a grief stricken Ira took a break from writing. But in 1941 he returned to work with Kurt Weill on Lady in the Dark, introducing “My Ship.” His film credits include Cover Girl with Jerome Kern (1944), which won the Oscar for Best Score and introduced “Long Ago and Far Away,” and A Star Is Born with Harold Arlen in which Judy Garland memorialized “The Man That Got Away,” nominated for Best Song of 1954.

Ira’s work was honored by a performance at Carnegie Hall in 1996 and by a star on the Walk of Fame in 1998. A film, Rhapsody in Blue (1945), rhapsodizes the brothers’ lives.

- Sandra Burlingame

Foggy Day

Mel Torme

The Man I Love

Derek Smith

Our Love Is Here to Stay

John Pizzarelli

Someone to Watch Over Me

Bennie Wallace

My Ship

George Shearing

George And Ira Gershwin In Hollywood: Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin

Porgy And Bess (1956 Studio Cast)

George Gershwin, Edward "Duke" Ellington, Russell Garcia, Australian Jazz Quintet, Pat Moran Quartet, Stan Levy Group, Bethlehem Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Betty Roche, Bob Dorough, Frank Rosolino,

Funny Face (1957 Film)

Ira Gershwin

Pure Gershwin

Michael Feinstein

Oh, Lady, Be Good! Best of the Gershwin Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald

Rosemary Clooney Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin

Rosemary Clooney
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Philip Furia

Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist

Oxford University Press; Reprint edition

Ira Gershwin

Lyrics on Several Occasions

Limelight Editions

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin

The Gershwin Collection

Hal Leonard Corporation

Ira Gershwin, Robert Kimball (Editor)

The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin

Da Capo Press

Judy Garland, James Mason

A Star Is Born (1954)


Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Shall We Dance? (1937)


Rita Hayworth, Eve Arden, Gene Kelly

Cover Girl (1944)


Robert Alda, Joan Leslie, Alexis Smith, Charles Coburn

Rhapsody in Blue / Movie

MGM (Video & DVD)


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