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American Poets Project
Gershwin Robert Kimball
 

Ira Gershwin: Selected Lyrics

edited by robert kimball

 
Overview
About the Editor
Table of Contents

Above: Ira Gershwin and Robert Kimball

 

Ira Gershwin once remarked that he always tried to “capture the way people spoke to each other—their slang, their clichés, the catch phrases.” Few people in ordinary life, of course, can muster the humor, vivacity, and emotional directness that Gershwin brought to his lyrics. His collaboration with his brother George—one of the summits of American popular music—produced masterpieces that reflect, perhaps, the way people would like to talk. “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “’S Wonderful”: these have entered the culture and become part of our common language. The insouciant, improvisational air of his lyrics belies the meticulous craftsmanship that Ira brought to every syllable. Robert Kimball has gathered more than 80 examples of Ira Gershwin at his best: the comic invention of songs such as “They All Laughed” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” the poignancy of “The Man I Love,” the wry edge of “The Saga of Jenny,” the sheer exuberance of “Fascinating Rhythm,” and dozens more.

 
Ira Gershwin: Selected Lyrics book jacket
Presented by The Library of America
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