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George Gershwin

They Write the Songs, Series 1 Episode 1 of 10

1 hour
First broadcast:
Tuesday 15 March 2011

Barry Manilow looks at the lives and works of ten famous composers of the Great American Songbook. He explores their genius through rare recordings and de-constructs their songs at his piano.

Recorded at Barry's home in America, the series gives a songwriter's insight into the art and craft of songwriting. It covers over sixty years of composition examining the work of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Frank Loesser, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerry Herman and Kander and Ebb. Among the rare recordings are songs by Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, and a never before heard Barry Manilow recording, made when he was three years old.

George Gershwin is the first composer in the spotlight, who left school in 1913 to pursue a career as a song plugger and composer in New York's Tin Pan Alley. His first hit song was Swanee, which was recorded by Al Jolson in 1920. He went on to create an impressive body of work, including celebrated musicals like Funny Face; jazz standards and popular songs like They Can't Take That Away from Me [which was posthumously nominated for an Oscar]; and the ambitious opera Porgy and Bess.

Music Played

15 items
  • Image for Mr Andre Previn;

    Mr Andre Previn; Rhapsody in Blue

    London Symphony Orchestra, Gershwin Orchestral Works

  • Image for Al Jolson

    Al Jolson Swanee

    Chart Toppers Of The Twenties, ASV LTD

  • Image for Peggy Lee

    Peggy Lee The Man I Love

    Spotlight On..., CAPITOL

  • Image for Bessie Brown

    Bessie Brown The Man I Love

    The Complete Recorded, DOCUMENT

  • Image for Gertrude Lawrence

    Gertrude Lawrence Someone To Watch Over Me

    Star!, ASV

  • Image for Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse Someone To Watch Over Me

    Frank, ISLAND

  • Image for Johnny Green Orchestra

    Johnny Green Orchestra An American In Paris Ballet

    Gig & American In Paris, EMI

  • Image for Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra Embraceable You

    Judy Garland

  • Image for Ethel Merman

    Ethel Merman I Got Rhythm

    Memorable Monemnts In Showbusiness, EMI

  • Image for Fred Astaire

    Fred Astaire Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

    Steppin' Out: Astaire Sings, VERVE

  • Image for Billie Holiday

    Billie Holiday A Foggy Day

    The Complete Verve Studio Master Takes, VERVE

  • Image for Nina Simone

    Nina Simone I Loves You Porgy

    The Very Best Of Nina Simone, VERVE

  • Image for Sinatra, Frank & Barbra Streisand

    Sinatra, Frank & Barbra Streisand I've Got A Crush On You

    Duets, EMI

  • Image for Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra They Can't Take That Away From Me

    My Way The Best Of, REPRISE

  • Image for Barry Manilow

    Barry Manilow Love Is Here To Stay

    The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time, ARISTA

  • Barry Manilow interview with Chris Evans

    You must enable JavaScript to play content

    Barry talks to Chris about songwriting, fame and lots more as he drops in to the studio to co-host the Breakfast Show.


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