George Gershwin

I Got Rhythm, song (from Girl Crazy, 1930)

    Description by Adrian Corleonis

    According to Isaac Goldberg, Gershwin's first biographer, I Got Rhythm originated as a slow number in the Gershwins' 1928 flop, Treasure Girl, which closed on Broadway after 68 performances. And, as was the case with Embraceable You, it was to have been included in Florenz Ziegfeld's East Is West, for which the Gershwins compiled a considerable score and which never made it to the boards. In the upshot, both numbers found a definitive place in the Aarons and Freedley production, Girl Crazy, which opened at the Alvin Theater on October 14, 1930, for a run of 272 performances. Embraceable You was taken, with stage veteran Allen Kearns, by the 19-year-old Ginger Rogers, while I Got Rhythm -- in its familiar jauntily upbeat version -- featured 23-year-old Ethel Merman making her Broadway debut.

    Merman was Vinton Freedley's find. Having heard her singing between movies at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater, he immediately engaged her. She auditioned soon after for the Gershwins in Sam and Delilah and I Got Rhythm, and George, always obliging, offered to make changes to suit her. "They will do very nicely, Mr. Gershwin," she replied. And they did. Ira Gershwin recalled "her assurance, timing and delivery both as comedienne and singer -- with a no-nonsense voice that could reach not only the standees but the ticket takers in the lobby."

    I'm chipper all the day,

    Happy with my lot.

    How do I get that way?

    Look at what I've got:

    I got rhythm,

    I got music,

    I got my man --

    Who could ask for anything more?

    Thus brilliantly launched, the tune continued to hold a fascination for George, who devoted one of his more elaborate transcriptions to it in George Gershwin's Song Book, published in 1932, and lovingly garlanded it with sublime invention in one of his finest instrumental works, the Variations on "I Got Rhythm," for piano and orchestra, in 1934.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 ICSM ICSM 011
    2019 Globe / Globe Records GLO 5272
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Genuin GEN 18608
    2018 Decca Gold 4817407
    2018 Maguelone MAG 358416
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Dynamic DYNCDS 7809
    2017 Alpha 289
    2017 Digressione Music DIGR 46
    2017 Masterworks / Sony Classical 88985395202
    2017 MSR Classics MS 1647
    2017 Somm SOMMCD 0176
    2016 Sony Classical 88875119792
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290767778
    2015 Ars Produktion ARS 38176
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1502
    2015 Dutton Vocalion / Vocalion CDLK 4552
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290854142
    2013 CAvi-music AVI 8553273
    2012 Heritage HTGCD 231
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Bellavente MCFROG
    2012 Aca Digital CM 20031
    2012 Warner Classics 678298
    2012 Naïve V 5283
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099991554420
    2011 Move 3179
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099907092329
    2011 Sony Music Distribution
    2011 Naïve DC 510503
    2011 EMI Classics 0288452
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099902884
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 4782687
    2011 Urania WS 121132
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 907508
    2010 EnF / EnF Records 1206
    2010 MDG 9101625
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099960668
    2010 Palm Records / Zebralution
    2010 Guild Light Music 5167
    2010 Philips
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099969853
    2009 Parade PAR 2033
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics / Sony Classics 50529
    2009 EMI Classics 35729
    2009 Decca 4800566
    2009 Decca
    2009 Philips
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Decca 4800535
    2008 Teldec 4696734
    2008 Madacy / Madacy Entertainment 53760
    2008 Madacy Entertainment 53759
    2008 Acrobat Music ACRCD 328
    2008 Virgin Classics 22101
    2007 Lyrichord 6006
    2007 Marquis Records 81369
    2007 Ryko Distribution / Ryko / Rykodisc RCD 10913
    2007 Doyen 067
    2007 Sony Classical 88697074162
    2007 Sounds of Yesteryear DSOY 741
    2007 Crystal Records Dist. 834
    2006 Teldec
    2006 Nineteen-Eight
    2006 Rhino 73192
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 77136
    2005 Pegasus (Pinnacle) / Pegasus PGNCD 908
    2005 Capriccio Records 49007
    2005 Quartz QTZ 2005
    2005 Centaur Records 2705
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 5850812
    2005 Oboe Classics 2010
    2005 Fleur de Son 57971
    2004 BIS 5011
    2004 ASV/Living Era / Living Era CDAJS 278
    2004 Lyrichord 8051
    2004 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 5862302
    2004 Philips 4756131
    2003 Warner Classics 7497082
    2003 Virgin Classics
    2003 Collectables 230
    2003 Sony Classical S2K 89913
    2003 ASV/Living Era / Living Era CDAJA 5465
    2002 Naïve 4942
    2002 Turner Classic Movies Music / Rhino 78323
    2002 Orpheus Records / Park South Records 90645
    2001 Eroica Distribution 3048
    2001 Dolce Sfogato 402
    2001 Rhino / WEA Internation 41215
    2001 Musica Viva 1019
    2000 Bayer Records 100267
    2000 Sonora 22581
    2000 Magnum Collectors / TKO Magnum CECD 021
    2000 Magic 2001
    2000 Zamir Chorale 914
    1999 Philips 456934
    1999 Hyperion 55006
    1999 Classico 235
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 EMI Classics / Angel Records 73380
    1999 Collectables 5886
    1999 Town Hall 46
    1999 BBC Music BBCW 10052
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 72527
    1999 Madacy 4810
    1999 Camerata Records 30CM545
    1998 Albany Music Distribution / Troy 319
    1998 RCA Victor / RCA 63258
    1998 CBC Records 1116
    1998 Carlton Classics 01297
    1998 North American Records 4001
    1998 Materiali 90102
    1998 Albany Music Distribution 274
    1998 Sony Classical 60659
    1998 Avid 640
    1998 Atoll 9802
    1998 Centaur Records CRC 2322
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 72802
    1997 Empire 567
    1997 Fleurs de Lys FL2 3074
    1997 Valley Entertainment 15019
    1997 Ars Harmonica 034
    1997 Centaur Records 2328
    1996 Turner Classic Movies Music / Rhino 72437
    1996 Accord 205522
    1996 Showtunes 1929
    1996 Carlton 372
    1995 Fat Boy 271
    1995 Klavier Records 11009
    1995 Avid 520
    1995 Silva Treasury 3007
    1995 Koch Classics 322040
    1994 Concert Gold / Intersound 3653
    1994 Klavier Records 77006
    1993 Mercury 434327
    1993 Vanguard 6002
    1993 Centaur Records 2178
    1993 Newport Classic 85557
    1993 ASV / ASV/Living Era 2077
    1993 White Line / ASV / ASV/Living Era CDWHL 2077
    1993 Angel Records 54802
    1992 EMI Classics / Angel Records CDQ-54530
    1991 Musicmasters / Musicmasters 5062-2-C
    1991 Naxos 550341
    1991 EMI Classics / Angel Records CDC-54190
    1989 BMG / RCA 9613-2-R
    1987 Angel Records / Warner Classics 0777747454
    First Choice 4506
    Teldec 884822
    United States Coast Guard 93006
    Laserlight 15944
    Teldec
    Ades 140942
    Altissimo 60422
    Ivory Records 72004
    Pro-Arte Records 495
    EMI Music Distribution 68430
    Sony Classical Essential Classics 60648
    Arabesque 6802
    Mastersound 3707
    Classic FM 175
    Manu Music Productions 1528
    Philips 434158
    Bolshoi/BMG
    EXL 4234
    RST Records 91592
    Fone 9703
    Telarc Distribution 83337
    EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 7692182
    IMP Classics 26
    Paradiso 607
    Norton 10609
    W.W. Norton
    W.W. Norton
    Norton 10610
    Harmonia Mundi 905209
    FSM Adagio 97708
    RCA 7901
    Brassjar 2
    Philips 454727
    Continuum 1050
    P Records 010
    Opus 3 19500
    Pro-Arte Records 4
    Madacy 4440
    ABC Classics 4763384
    Pro-Arte Records 276
    Philips 468139
    EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 5570492