Nice Work if You Can Get It

Reviewed by mojo

This is another pleasant stroll of a song, so it kind of figures it debuted in a Fred Astaire movie. I've never heard it before this album, but back in the day it was pretty popular, with lots of people recording it. Ella's of course is smooth as anything, with Riddle's strings gliding along with her, only pausing to repeat the "I've Got Rhythm" question: "Who could ask for anything more?"

This won't be the last time we encounter the Gershwins adding sly little self-references in their songs. Indeed, the whole Astaire movie that contained this song--"A Damsel in Distress"--was written by P.G. Wodehouse, based on his book about a successful American songwriter who happened to share the same first name as George Gershwin, who was really hot to make the picture. So the whole movie, according to Wodehouse, turned out to be a whole self-reference. Poor George died of a brain tumor while the movie was being produced; poor Joan Fontaine couldn't dance, and it was the first Astaire movie to lose money. Which somehow makes Mojo want to see it even more.

This is a pleasant, fluffy song, but nothing all that special, and I was not too surprised to find there's no clips of Ella singing it on YouTube. She DID include a version in one of her earliest albums, "Ella Sings Gershwin" (re-released as "Pure Ella"), so we'll be strolling with it again fairly soon. I did find a Doris Day fan video on YouTube, and gave a listen. In a rather amusing switch, while Ella's version here is standard smooth easy listening, Doris Day's version is a little more syncopated and jazzy. But it's not Ella, and it's not even a clip of her singing--it's a fan video--so I'm not including it in the external media. But do a search on YouTube if you're intrigued; it's not too hard to find.

Nice Work if You Can Get It (1959)

in
Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
Disc Number: 
1
Composer: 
George Gershwin
Lyricist: 
Ira Gershwin
Time: 
3:32

From Wikipedia:

 

"Nice Work If You Can Get It" is a popular song.

The music was written by George Gershwin, the lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was one of nine songs George Gershwin wrote for the movie A Damsel in Distress, in which it was performed by Fred Astaire with backing vocals provided by The Stafford Sisters. The song was published in 1937.

A version of this song was used during the opening credits of the 1995 to 1998 CBS sitcom Cybill, starring Cybill Shepherd, who performed the song herself.

The song was included in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Crazy for You.

 Notable Recordings