Embraceable You is often reported to have been written especially for Ginger Rogers, who sang it with Allen Kearns in the Gershwins' 1930 musical comedy hit, Girl Crazy. The fact is that it had been composed the year before, with Rogers nowhere in sight, for Florenz Ziegfeld's abortive East Is West, which, on a sudden whim, Ziegfeld shelved to produce the richly haphazard Show Girl. In Girl Crazy, the song became a duet as New York playboy Danny Churchill, exiled by his wealthy father to the Wild West wastes, recalls the life that late he led (in one of Ira Gershwin's smartest lyrics) --
Dozens of girls would storm up,
I had to lock my door.
Somehow I couldn't warm up
To one before.
What was it that controlled me?
What kept my love life lean?
My intuition told me
You'd come on the scene
to which the Rogers character, cowgirl postmistress Molly Gray, responds,
I went about reciting
"Here's one who'll never fall!"
But I'm afraid the writing
Is on the wall.
My nose I used to turn up
When you'd besiege my heart;
Now I completely burn up
When you're slow to start
before coasting into the immortal refrain which imperishably framed the Jazz Age's effervescent vision of romance --
Embrace me, My sweet embraceable you.
Embrace me, You irreplaceable you.
Just one look at you, my heart grew tipsy in me;
You and you alone bring out the gypsy in me!
I love all the many charms about you; Above all I want my arms about you.
If Girl Crazy was largely airheaded fluff, it was nonetheless gorgeous -- a richly resonant summing-up of an era going under in the wake of the Great Depression -- and Embraceable You, balancing the brassy I Got Rhythm, was its crowning glory.