The Song PlungerAs a gifted pianist, George Gershwin (born Jacob Gershwine) played as a song plugger on Tin Pan Alley at age 16. He wrote his first big hit, "Swanee," in 1919. Also during that time he wrote "Stairway to Paradise," "Do it Again," and "Somebody Loves Me." He was handsome and handled himself like a genius.
SuccessGershwin made his mark in his symphony pieces, the most famous being Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin wrote songs for two more shows during this period, and perfored in Carnegie Hall with the New York Symphony Society. By the age of 30, he had written some of the most successful scores during the twenties (including "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Strike Up the Band").
In 1930, the show Girl Crazy ("I Got Rhythm") was followed the next year by Of Thee I Sing. This political satire, the first musical comedy to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama. He continued his Broadway run with Blue Monday and Porgy and Bess.
Gershwin also spent time in Hollywood, writing "Let's Call the Whole thing Off." He left a legacy by creating another king of art rom the jazz and blues material of American Americans.
Can't hear the music?
Baughman, Judith S. American Decades: 1920 - 1929.