The Item of the month for September 2015 is George Gershwin’s Somebody loves me (words by Ballard MacDonald and Buddy DeSylva).
Between 1920 and 1924, Gershwin wrote music for five of George White’s Broadway reviews including George White’s Scandals of 1924 which contained the hit number Somebody loves me. According to Ean Wood, in his biography George Gershwin: His life and music [shelved at 789 GER], this song is the first to show the ‘authentic’ Gershwin sound. However, the composer had already had a hit with Swanee, recorded in 1920 by Al Jolson which made the composer $10,000 in royalties, closely followed by success with Rhapsody in blue in 1924. Premièred in a concert entitled ‘An Experiment in Modern Music’, Rhapsody established Gershwin’s place in the history of music as ‘the man who brought ‘jazz’ into the concert hall’ [Grove online].
Dick Hyman’s Professional chord changes and substitutions for 100 tunes every musician should know [shelved at: 780.28 HAY] offers chords choices to compare with those shown in the other displayed score, The Real book (European : 6th edition) [shelved at J 781.REA] – clearly, there is always more than one harmonic solution to be found!
Somebody loves me has been an inspiration for many singers and composers since its composition and we have included the score of Earl Wild’s Etude, no. 2 for piano [shelved at 781.4 WIL], as an example of a work inspired by the song.
Besides scores, we have chosen a handful of recordings by a variety of artists – Bud Powell, Tommy Dorsey, Zoot Sims, Lester Young, Art Tatum, Johnny Dankworth and Dinah Washington – plus Ferde Grofé’s Whiteman Orchestra arrangements and original Gershwin orchestrations (Gershwin by Grofé… [shelved at JAZZ : GER]. For staff and students at Trinity Laban, there are, of course, many other recordings of this song available online via our music streaming subscriptions. These can be found using the Quicksearch link in the ‘Library Links’ menu on Moodle.