Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book

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Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book
Box set by
ReleasedDecember 1959
RecordedJanuary, March, and July 1959
Studio Capitol Studio A (Hollywood)
Genre Vocal jazz
Label Verve
Producer Norman Granz
Ella Fitzgerald chronology
Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs for Swingers
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [3]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [4]

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book is a box set by American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald that contains songs by George and Ira Gershwin with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. It was produced by Norman Granz, Fitzgerald's manager and the founder of Verve Records. Fifty-nine songs were recorded in the span of eight months in 1959. [5] It is one of the eight album releases comprising what is possibly Fitzgerald's greatest musical legacy: Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Complete American Songbook , [6] in which she recorded, with top arrangers and musicians, a comprehensive collection of both well-known and obscure songs from the Great American Songbook canon, written by the likes of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer.


Fitzgerald's recording of "But Not for Me" won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Female. [7]

Ira Gershwin subsequently said that "I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them". [8] Gershwin helped Fitzgerald, Granz and Riddle with the selection of songs. The songs were written by Ira and his brother George between 1924 and 1937. Ira also revised some of his lyrics for the album. [9] Granz memorably suggested that Fitzgerald sing "Oh, Lady Be Good!" as a slow ballad rather than the fast tempo version which had become renowned as a showcase for her scat singing. [9]

In 2000 it was voted number 473 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums . [10]

The French painter Bernard Buffet created five paintings that were used as artworks for the five individual LPs that made the original album release. The liner notes were written by Laurence D. Stewart. The album was released in mono and stereo. The mono album was priced at $25 (equivalent to $232in 2021) and the stereo at $30 (equivalent to $279in 2021). A deluxe edition was also available priced at $100 (equivalent to $930in 2021). [11] The deluxe set was packaged in a walnut box, with the five Buffet paintings issued as detachable lithographs. Stewart's liner notes were included as a separate hardback book, The Gershwins: Words Upon Music. [12]

Track listing

For the 1998 4-CD set Verve re-issue, Verve 314 539 759-2

All Tracks composed by George Gershwin and all lyrics written by Ira Gershwin, unless otherwise indicated.

Disc One

  1. Ambulatory Suite (Instrumental) (George Gershwin)
    • "Promenade (Walking the Dog)" – 2:31,
    • "March of the Swiss Soldiers" – 2:04,
    • "Fidgety Feet" – 2:46
  2. The Preludes (Instrumental) (G. Gershwin)
    • Prelude I – 1:36,
    • Prelude II – 3:48,
    • Prelude III – 1:13,
  3. "Sam and Delilah" – 3:15
  4. "But Not for Me" – 3:31
  5. "My One and Only" – 2:36
  6. "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" – 4:26
  7. "(I've Got) Beginner's Luck" – 3:08
  8. "Oh, Lady Be Good!" – 3:58
  9. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" – 3:32
  10. "Things Are Looking Up" – 3:03
  11. "Just Another Rhumba" – 5:34
  12. "How Long Has This Been Going On?" – 3:45
  13. " 'S Wonderful" – 3:28
  14. "The Man I Love" – 3:50
  15. "That Certain Feeling" – 3:07
  16. "By Strauss" – 2:29
  17. "Someone to Watch Over Me" – 4:30
  18. "The Real American Folk Song (is a Rag)" – 3:43

Disc Two

  1. "Who Cares?" – 3:05
  2. "Looking for a Boy" – 3:02
  3. "They All Laughed" – 3:02
  4. "My Cousin in Milwaukee" – 3:07
  5. "Somebody from Somewhere" – 3:06
  6. "A Foggy Day" – 3:50
  7. "Clap Yo' Hands" – 2:28
  8. "For You, For Me, For Evermore" – 3:23
  9. "Stiff Upper Lip" – 2:50
  10. "Boy Wanted" – 3:33
  11. "Strike Up the Band" – 2:33
  12. "Soon" – 2:20
  13. "I've Got a Crush on You" – 3:26
  14. "Bidin' My Time" – 2:40
  15. "Aren't You Kind of Glad We Did?" – 3:28
  16. "Of Thee I Sing (Baby)" – 3:07
  17. "'The Half of It, Dearie' Blues" – 3:45
  18. "I Was Doing All Right" – 3:25
  19. "He Loves and She Loves" – 2:46
  20. "Love Is Sweeping the Country" – 3:24
  21. "Treat Me Rough" – 2:54

Disc Three

  1. "Our Love Is Here to Stay" – 3:52
  2. "Slap That Bass" – 3:23
  3. "Isn't It a Pity?" – 3:23
  4. "Shall We Dance?" – 3:08
  5. "Love Walked In" – 3:52
  6. "You've Got What Gets Me" – 2:13
  7. "They Can't Take That Away from Me" – 3:07
  8. "Embraceable You" – 4:49
  9. "I Can't Be Bothered Now" – 2:48
  10. "Boy! What Love Has Done to Me!" – 3:46
  11. "Fascinating Rhythm" – 3:22
  12. "Funny Face" – 3:23
  13. "The Lorelei" – 3:21
  14. "Oh, So Nice!" – 3:40
  15. "Let's Kiss and Make Up" – 3:49
  16. "I Got Rhythm" – 3:07

Disc Four - Tracks 3 to 16 are Alternate Takes and Remixes

  1. "Somebody Loves Me" (G. Gershwin, Buddy DeSylva, Ballard MacDonald) – 2:36
  2. "Cheerful Little Earful" (Harry Warren, Ira Gershwin, Billy Rose) – 2:06
  3. "But Not for Me" – 2:05 (45 rpm Take)
  4. "The Lorelei" (Alternate Take) – 3:00
  5. "Our Love Is Here to Stay" (Partial Alternate Take) – 3:51
  6. "Oh, Lady Be Good!" (Alternate Take) – 4:04
  7. "Oh, Lady Be Good!" (Alternate Take) – 3:56
  8. "Oh, Lady Be Good!" (Alternate Take) – 4:12
  9. "But Not for Me" – 2:05 (Mono Mix)
  10. "Fascinating Rhythm" – 3:21 (Mono Mix)
  11. "They All Laughed" – 3:02 (Mono Mix)
  12. "The Man I Love" – 3:50 (Mono Mix)
  13. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" – 3:32 (Mono Mix)
  14. "Clap Yo' Hands" – 2:29 (Mono Mix)
  15. "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" – 4:26 (Mono Mix)
  16. "I Was Doing All Right" – 3:25 (Mono Mix)
  17. "He Loves and She Loves" – 2:46 (Mono Mix)
  18. "(I've Got) Beginner's Luck" – 3:07 (Mono Mix)


  1. The booklet of the 1998 4-CD set is most probably misprinted. It gives "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George & Ira Gershwin Song Book Vol.1 Verve MGVS 6102", as the original issue for these tracks, but MGVS 6102 is the catalogue number for Get Happy, while MGV-4013 is the LP mentioned later in the same booklet as the original issue for the tracks.


String section

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