By Strauss. By Gershwin.

I’ve loved the writing of George and Ira Gershwin since I was a boy. My sister had the
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George And Ira Gershwin Song Book, an incredible album set arranged by Nelson Riddle, which I think is one of the best jazz records ever made. By Strauss is one of their lesser known song but a great example of clever lyric writing nonetheless.

Away with the music of Broadway
Be off with your Irving Berlin
Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
It’s only for nightclubbing souses
Oh give me the free ‘n’ easy waltz that is Viennesey
And go tell the band if they want a hand
The waltz must be Strauss’

Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah

When I want a melody
Lilting through the house
Then I want a melody
By Strauss
It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
Swinging to three-quarter time

Keep the wine and give me song
By Strauss
By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
Just give me your oom-pa-pah, by Strauss!

Notice the witty rhymes

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel

internal rhymes

I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
give me the free ‘n’ easy waltz that is Viennesey
And go tell the band if they want a hand

name checking Strauss’ music

Let the [Blue] Danube flow along and the Fledermaus

use of German

heraus [out!]

To be sure, the more comedic and lighthearted the song is the more you can get away with such self-consciously clever lyrics, but I’d love to have one-tenth of the the genius on display here.

About mattblick

Songwriter & Musical Educator from Nottingham, UK. New album Fifty Five Stories Down is out now. Blogging through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy.
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3 Responses to By Strauss. By Gershwin.

  1. Rob_From_Amersfoort says:

    I don’t like Strauss but I do like George and Ira Gershwin. I just listened to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition, very impressive!

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