__  Although its storyline was thin and a bit tedious, Shall We Dance was a box-office success. The Gershwin score and the popularity of its stars, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (their seventh film appearance in four years), overcame what the movie lacked in plot. In addition to Astaire’s wistful rendition of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” it had many other Gershwin hits in it.

George Gershwin was counting on Shall We Dance to “plug” his songs and was initially disappointed. In his opinion “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” was all but wasted on the film due to the brevity of its performance (only the verse and just one chorus). His fears were unfounded as the song went on to do well on the pop charts:

For a few months during 1937 Count Basie had vocalist Billie Holiday with his band. Sadly no commercial recordings were made with Holiday, but there are a handful of live broadcast recordings, including “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” showing Holiday in a much more relaxed form than on her April, 1937, studio recording.

By this time (1937) I had been born and I wonder if my amateur pianist mother ever played this to me in my cradle?  She had all  the latest sheet music and struggled through some pieces but performed as a virtuoso on others.  She loved music and I think she has passed that on to me.


I have almost collected and arranged a “songbook” of Gershwin song and I am delighted that I can offer them to you on my web page.  For this one click here: They can’t take


For more about the song go to: http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-0/theycanttakethatawayfromme.htm



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