Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Today is the birthday of perhaps the finest composer in the entire world. His name was George Gershwin and bar none, in my humble opinion, no composer of the modern age could quite touch the level of genius that George (with Ira) reached. What can one say about "Rhapsody In Blue" or an "An American in Paris"? Simply brilliant. In the new "Fantasia" George's "Rhapsody" is put to animation-- and perhaps here (finally meshed with a visual)one can see just how brilliant he was. "Porgy & Bess" is another masterpiece. Of course, one knows full well just how much Ira contributed and just how much Ira loved his brother. Right after George had been felled by a brain tumor at the tender age of thirty-seven, Ira went into mourning. The last melody that George had written lacked a lyric. Two weeks passed, then three and finally five and an anxious MGM called Ira and told him just how badly tey needed this lyric to complete the picture. Ira knew that George would want him to finish. So a broken hearted Ira wrote a lyric that everybody thinks is to be sung by two people in love-- a man married to a woman, or vice versa. But the lyric to the song "Our Love is Here To Stay" was written by Ira as a tribute to his brother. He could not ever hear that song in the future years without breaking into tears. Dear Ira lived another forty-two years after George's untimely death! If you examine that lyric you will see just how brilliantly it was composed. Today also marks the 50th anniversary of writing for another two incredible song writers: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman-- aka "The Sherman Brothers" I have been fans of these guys for over forty years-- long before "Mary Poppins" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious" came along. Now that his dear wife has passed away, Robert has retired to London where he is taking up his second passion in life-- painting. I used to represent them back in the agency days along with Robert's son Robbie. Of course the new Mary Poppins opens soon and the boys are working on another musical called "The Merry Go Round". The one thing that I have always strived to achieve in my songwriting has come from them-- hummability and catchy and clever lyrics. I will always be grateful for their influence. Today also is the birthday of another great pope-- Paul XVI-- who led many reforms along with his predecesor John the XXIII. Of course the incredible John Paul II took his papal name from each of these great men. Going to a big motivitational meeting for Ritz tomorrow in the city of Commerce at Wyndham Garden Hotel. Should be interesting!

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