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We went all though the thing, reaching the last step before the proposed exit and George said, "Now travel -- travel with that one. I stopped to ask what he meant and he jumped up from the piano and demonstrated what he visualized.

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He wanted us to continue doing the last step, which started center stage, and sustain it as we traveled to the side, continuing until we were out of sight off stage. The step was a complicated precision rhythm thing in which we kicked out simultaneously as we crossed back and forth in front of each other with arm pulls and heads back.


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There was a lot going on, and when George suggested traveling, we didn't think it was possible. It was the perfect answer to our problem, however, this suggestion by hoofer Gershwin, and it turned out to be a knockout applause puller. George threw me a couple for my solo routine, too.

Fascinating Rhythm

I liked to watch him dance. It made me laugh Fred Astaire, Steps in Time , pp. The critic for the Harold Tribune wrote, "When at 9: Seldom has it been our pleasure to witness such a heartfelt, spontaneous and so deserved a tribute" Fred Astaire, Steps in Time , pp.

As was common in Broadway shows of The Twenties, the show-stopper or some other principal song would be reprised at the finale to bring the audience back to its feet; often, as was the case with "Fascinating Rhythm" in Lady, Be Good! Ira Gershwin explains in Lyrics on Several Occasions p. The story of the MGM musical Lady Be Good starring Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, Ann Sothern, and others was also unconnected to the plot of the musical of the same title, with score by the Gershwins; however, it did include in its own score the two most famous songs from the earlier stage production: Given that there is no visual record of the show-stopping dance by Adele and Fred Astaire from , it is worth it to view the spectacle of the MGM version.

It is a tribute to the music and its associated rhythm that two boffo dance routines were created for the song. It is also worth noting that even though the movie version is essentially unrelated to the original, Berkeley alludes to the show when he includes in his choreography Powell being accompanied not only by a chorus of dancers and singers but by dual pianists, just as was the case in the Broadway pit for the production in which the well known ragtime piano team of Phil Ohman and Victor Arden anchored the orchestra.

The Berkeley film version perhaps had, in a way, a greater degree of authenticity than the original in that Berkeley's pianists are black like the most highly regarded stride pianists of the era, whereas Ohman and Arden, though highly regarded in their own right, were white. The Powell routine had its place in cinematic dance history augmented by being included in the subsequent documentary on MGM musicals, That's Entertainment. His Life and Work Berkeley: Howard Pollack called "Fascinating Rhythm" not only "paradigmatic of a certain side of Gershwin's work but of the Jazz Age itself.

Both the low-down verse , with its insistent blue note s a mirror image of ' The Man I Love ' , and the explosive chorus , whit its dizzying polyrhythms, charted new territory. Philip Furia Ira Gershwin: Philip Furia notes that Ira liked contractions in his lyrics because they lend things a colloquial air, "a verbal equivalent," as Furia puts it, "for George's frequent syncopations. In the most common of American catch-phrases Ira discovered verbal shards that perfectly fit the rhythms of George's musical phrases: Furia doesn't find it surprising that Ira thought of "Fascinating Rhythm" as "the hardest song I ever had to fit words to.

It's so persistent the day isn't distant, I know, When I'll go mad. Inspired by George's intricate rhythm, Ira now recast those lines into the more vernacular--and percussively alliterative Indeed he dismisses the song, writing, "it says little and says it poorly both musically and lyrically, the entire lyric [being] scarcely to be recommended as an illustration of Ira Gershwin's great talent. Gerald Mast See just below. Gerald Mast calls "Fascinating Rhythm" the Gershwins' first and best song about rhythm [the other being, of course, the later " I Got Rhythm "], and alludes to the terms Ira used while referring to it when he first heard an early version George brought back from London in The "tricky" and eventually "fascinating" rhythm of "Fascinating Rhythm" that was both so frustrating and appealing to Ira is analyzed by Mast who concludes, "The result of this playful trickery is a rhythmically complex song about rhythmic complexity, a song about rhythmic fascination that is fascinating because its rhythms can never be predicted or taken for granted.

Ira's alliterative "g" "Got me on the go" emphasizes the regular downbeat immediately preceding the rhythmic surprise, when the single "Fascinating" sustains itself over the boundary between measures two and three. The downbeat falls in the third measure without any new word to announce it--a downbeat both felt and missed. This tiny trick provides the fascination of this fascinating rhythm, both for the singer, possessed by it ["it pit-a-pats in my brain,"] and the listener, who soon will be Mast, p.

One of these difficulties, one that has nothing to do with the rest of the plot and is only a pretense for their dance routine, is dancing to the challenging and tricky rhythms of "Fascinating Rhythm. The characters are in a battle with the rhythm.


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They want the rhythm to go away and leave them be:. Won't you take a day off decide to run along Somewhere far away off-- And make it snappy! The final plea of the lyric is made to this "Fascinating Rhythm": And in truth, far from succumbing to this force, by the end the characters have harnessed it, and in so doing, asserted their autonomy" Rosenberg, p.

Such rhythmic complexity was rare in American theater song of the time; so was such a close blending of words and music. What Ira achieved in this lyric was "a truly phenomenal feat," in Arthur Schwartz's words, "when one considers that.

Fascinating Rhythm Lyrics

Allen Forte in his book Listening to Classic American Popular Songs distinguishes between the rhythms found in George Gershwin's verse and in his refrain. Both rhythms, Forte maintains, have their "charm and interest"; indeed, the rhythm of the verse is "toe-tapping and jazzy," and "would have been understood as very 'rhythmic' in Gershwin's day and even now;" but "it is not, however, the fascinating rhythm" of the refrain.

Ted Gioia The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire New York: Oxford University Press, Ted Gioia pretty much agrees with Aaron Copeland's assessment of "Fascinating Rhythm," given above, that it was "rhythmically not only the most fascinating but the most original jazz song yet composed," even though the modernist composer had probably not listened much to King Oliver or Jelly Roll Morton.

In fact, I could easily imagine this melody having come from a New Orleans cornet player or a Chicago school clarinetist, so perfectly does it match the sound of hot jazz of the era. The song was, in turn, easily adapted to the needs of jazz bands. In many ways, its melody construction anticipates the riff-based charts that would usher in the Swing Era. Gioia also credits Ira Gershwin's slangy lyrics along with those of other popular song lyricists of the time as actually having a more significant influence than the prose of Hemingway or Fitzgerald on the diction of the Jazz Age Gioia, pp.

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This section is currently incomplete. The recording on the video above is not Edwards' performance in the cast of Lady, Be Good! The recording rose to number 6 on the charts by April, Please complete or pause one video before starting another. This track can be found on various albums. I've been shopping here since I was a kid just discoverin g music. Why tis a musical Shrine of course..

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Will never go there again. I just read this record store was rated top 5 in canada and thought what a pile of crap. The owner is Rude and needs a haircut. Steve and his staff know their stuff.

The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm

I have obtained so many good research materials to improve my knowledge for my show and essays I have written. By far the best outlet anywhere! It seems like yesterday that this amazing shop opened in Country Club Mall. So many new bands recommende d by Steve. So many copies of Depeche Mode's "Violator" , bought and sold. Best prices and selection on the island! Seriously the coolest music store ever! A great place to satisfy my Vinyl addiction! Outstandin g owner and staff My little piece of Heaven on Earth!! So, at last, here's some footage of Teenage Tiger rocking a party in Yellowpoint on August 9, featuring Fascinating Rhythm owner Steve in his first ever live performance!

Apologies to Teenage Tiger member Ray, who is seen only briefly at the beginning of the video. There is more footage in existence that shows Ray more clearly, so we'll try to get our hands on that and post it here. Last year we were approached by Kim Switnicki - a student of the VIU Digital Media Studies program - to be part of a series of short films about the importance of shopping locally, with the emphasis firmly on independent businesses, especially downtown.

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We have just received the three films in which we feature, so are pleased to share them here for your interest. We would like to thank Kim and her crew for so strongly supporting and promoting local independent businesses, and say how cool we think the finished films are! Thank you for watching. There are some real goodies therein: Oh, how I long to be the man I used to be! Fascinating Rhythm Oh, won't you stop picking on me? We'll have things fixed soon. Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube.