My One and Only

Reviewed by mojo

I've always thought of this song as a tap dance waiting to happen. I suppose this is true of a lot of musical theater songs, at least from the 1920s and 30s, and the Gershwins got many of their shows and songs turned into Hollywood musicals with folks like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly kickin' around to Gershwin tunes. Of course Hollywood is not known for maintaining any sort of artistic integrity--I'm sure if there were a market for it Louis B. Mayer would have gotten Ann Miller up there tap-dancing and playing a tamborine to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata--but with "My One and Only" you can't walk and sing it at the same time without falling into some sort of soft shoe routine, at least.

 

The secret here, of course, is the snappy staccato syncopation throughout the song. Among her many other talents, Ella has near-perfect diction--it was the only thing Cole Porter remarked about after Norman Granz played Ella's famous Songbook album for him--and she runs through the patter-song lyrics with ease. The secret to this song is a triplet, followed by two halves and then a singleton--one-two-three, one-two, one. What-am-I gon-na do. Where-am-I gon-na go. Is-n't-a rea-son why. I tell you, it's a dance routine just waiting to happen.

Add to this Ella's obvious, playful joy as she sings, and the end result is just delightful. It's like a big smile for your ear. So to heck with reviewing this one--just sit back and enjoy it!

My One and Only (1959)

in
Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
Disc Number: 
1
Composer: 
George Gershwin
Lyricist: 
Ira Gershwin
Time: 
2:36

From Wikipedia:

 

"My One and Only" is a song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, written for the 1927 musical Funny Face where it was introduced by Fred Astaire, Betty Compton and Gertrude McDonald.[1] It was originally titled "(What Am I Gonna Do) If You Turn Me Down?"

 Notable recordings