With songs like "I Got Rhythm," "Embraceable You," and "The Man I Love," composer and pianist George Gershwin (1898-1937) and lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) carved their names in the golden age of American song. Michael Feinstein, the author of this book, enjoyed rare access to their history, having devoted six years of his life to working with Ira on their mutual love of musical heritage. In this unique memoir, Feinstein presents the Gershwins through the portals of twelve of their immortal songs. A unique, up-close view of two modern musical theatre masters.
The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songsby Michael Feinstein
The “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook” Michael Feinstein was just twenty years old when he got the chance of a lifetime: a job with his hero, Ira
From celebrated entertainer Michael Feinstein comes a beautifully illustrated account of the lives and legacies of the Gershwins—told through stories of twelve of their greatest songs.
The “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook” Michael Feinstein was just twenty years old when he got the chance of a lifetime: a job with his hero, Ira Gershwin. During their six-year partnership, the two became close friends. Feinstein blossomed under Gershwin’s mentorship and Gershwin was reinvigorated by the younger man’s zeal for his and his brother George’s legacy. Now, in The Gershwins and Me, the only book of its kind, Michael Feinstein shares unforgettable stories and reminiscences from the music that defined American popular song, along with rare Gershwin memorabilia he’s collected through the years.
From “Strike Up the Band” to “Love Is Here to Stay,” each of the twelve chapters highlights one of the Gershwins’ classic songs, exploring the brothers’ lives, illuminating what the music meant to them, and telling the stories of how their iconic tunes came to life. Throughout the star-studded narrative, Feinstein unfolds the moving chronicle of his own life with the Gershwins, describing his vision for their enduring presence today. No other writer could give us such an authoritative inside perspective on these titans of American culture.
A timeless classic and the definitive account of the Gershwins and their legacy, The Gershwins and Me will having you humming with every turn of the page.
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Meet the Author
Michael Feinstein is an entertainer and educator known as one of the leading experts on classic American popular music. A five-time Grammy nominee, he performs, records, and lectures extensively and has been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees. Learn more about Michael Feinstein at MichaelFeinstein.com.
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Perusing this book is much like attending a cabaret performance by Michael Feinstein: It is replete with personal anecdotes and examples of the Great American Songbook. It is accompanied by a CD of 12 of the best Gershwin tunes. And the illustrations, many of which are from the author’s personal collection amassed over decades, are not only impressive but a rare addition to an informative work. At the age of 20, Feinstein became the personal assistant to Ira Gershwin, helping to catalog the work of perhaps the greatest songwriting team in American history [Ira with his brother, George, of course]. He spent six years at the task, which certainly qualifies him as one of the foremost authorities on his subject. The book not only addresses the Gershwins’ impressive output, but the whole genre, which he dates back to the writing of Swanee. He suggests the tunes of George and lyrics of Ira, fresh and vital, helped to shape the attitudes, morals and beliefs of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. And beyond the Gershwins, he looks at the whole genre: Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Harry Warren and Harold Arlen, and how they were influenced by the brothers Gershwin. In case you’re wondering, the twelve songs are: “Strike Up the Band,” “’S Wonderful,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “They All Laughed,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You,” “Who Cares?,” “I Got Plenty of Nuthin’,” “They Can’t Take Than Away from Me,” “I Got Rhythm,” and “Love Is Here to Stay.” Not only are the Gerswins memorable, but this book will be as well: for its information and art. It certainly should, and will be, I am certain, a lot more than just a display on a coffee table. Highly recommended.
Everyone who enjoys great American music and songs must obtain a copy of this book written superbly by Michael Feinstein. As a bonus, the book includes a CD by the author. If not for yourself, this book makes a wonderful gift!
I heard the author today on NPR and I cannot wait to read this book. My first thought was, my grandmother (educated polish woman who loves biographies and classical music) would LOVE this book. Only problem, she doesn't speak polish. I am considering translating this book as her birthday gift.