George Gershwin

Someone to Watch Over Me, song (from Oh, Kay!, musical)

    Description by Adrian Corleonis

    With the resounding success of Lady, Be Good! under their belts -- and the musical just finishing a tour in England -- the Gershwins agreed to supply words and music for another Aarons and Freedley production, with the popular English actress, Gertrude Lawrence, tapped for the lead. Over the spring and summer of 1926 they worked in a desultory way on oddments tailored to Lawrence's vocal style as they waited for P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton to deliver the book. What began as Mayfair became Cheerio and, finally, Oh, Kay! Work began in earnest in early September, with rehearsals just weeks away, only to be interrupted as Ira Gershwin was rushed to the hospital for an appendectomy. Howard Dietz, later to achieve fame as the lyricist of Dancing in the Dark (to music by Arthur Schwartz), claimed that George Gershwin turned to him to fill in, and that he supplied the lyrics for Someone to Watch Over Me. Ira's recollection is that Dietz merely ad-libbed the title and that he, Ira, wrote the lyrics. Though Dietz was credited for other lyrics in the show, the published music says unequivocally "Words by Ira Gershwin." In any case, Ira recalled that George had habitually strutted the tune as a sizzling up-tempo number (in which guise it may be heard in an exhilarating 1926 cut with the composer at the piano) when one day he played it over musingly -- "...half of it hadn't been sounded when both of us had the same reaction: this was no rhythm number but rather a wistful and warm one..." and the lyrics followed suit. In Oh, Kay! it was a showstopper as Lawrence sang it with hesitant longing to a Raggedy Ann which George had found for her in a toy store. Critic Percy Hammond, of the New York Tribune, wrote that Lawrence had "wrung the withers of even the most hardhearted of those present." Indeed, Someone to Watch Over Me has become an imperishable standard and a vehicle for everyone from jazz mama Ella Fitzgerald to country great Willie Nelson.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Maguelone MAG 358416
    2018 Moody Classics / Tadlow Classics MCGAHON 02
    2017 Oehms Classics OC 1870
    2017 Drury Lane Records CDGN 4
    2016 Warner Classics 825646493739
    2016 Warner Classics 9029598772
    2015 Cala 122
    2015 eOne EOMCD 7792
    2015 ABC Classics 4811872
    2013 BSX BSXCD 8929
    2013 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88725462392
    2012 ABC Classics ABC 4810032
    2012 Aca Digital CM 20031
    2012 USM Media USMMTCD 026
    2011 CD Baby / Disc Makers / Jennifer Muhawi 65461
    2011 Flare SPEC1044
    2011 Urania WS 121132
    2010 Philips / Opening Day Recordings ODR 9327
    2010 EnF / EnF Records 1206
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960669
    2010 EMI Classics
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099960668
    2010 Masterworks / Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 8869761145
    2010 Opening Day Recordings 9365
    2009 Parade PAR 2033
    2009 EMI Classics 35729
    2008 Madacy Entertainment 53759
    2008 Madacy / Madacy Entertainment 53760
    2008 Virgin Classics 22101
    2008 Troubadour 1018
    2007 Linus Entertainment 70016
    2007 Linus Entertainment 270016
    2007 Linus / Linus Entertainment 970013
    2007 Kultur 4198
    2007 ABC Classics 4765964
    2007 Lyrichord 6006
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220545205
    2007 Nireo 6
    2007 Sounds of Yesteryear DSOY 741
    2007 Chandos 10411
    2006 MSR Records 1114
    2006 Meridian Records 84167
    2006 TNT Productions / TNT Records
    2006 Nineteen-Eight
    2006 Landor Records 277
    2005 Mark Custom Recording 5551
    2005 Koch 7595
    2004 Marquis Records 81305
    2004 Fabulous FABCD237
    2003 Opening Day Recordings 9327
    2003 Nome Company Of Dallas, Inc / Orchard 1721
    2003 ATMA Classique 22253
    2003 Deux-Elles DXL 1072
    2003 Decca 0000901
    2003 Peggy Lee Brown
    2003 Peggy Lee Brown / (Independently by Label) peggyleebrown
    2003 Sony Classical S2K 89913
    2003 PentaTone Classics 5186021
    2003 Universal 9809662
    2002 Sony Music Distribution 502464
    2002 Reader's Digest Music 9137
    2002 Elektra / Rhino 8122782542
    2002 Orpheus Records / Park South Records 90645
    2002 Gabriele / Gabrielle 03152
    2001 Walt Disney 15110
    2001 Dux Records 125
    2001 Naxos 8120510
    2001 Dolce Sfogato 402
    2001 Klavier Records 11117
    2000 MAH 7
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469139
    1999 Equity Digital 2198
    1999 Philips 456934
    1999 Classico 235
    1999 Aura Classics 0174
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Cala Records CACD0111
    1999 BBC Music BBCW 10052
    1999 Madacy 4810
    1999 La Ma De Guido 51
    1998 Albany Music Distribution / Troy 319
    1998 RCA Victor / RCA 63258
    1998 Carlton Classics 01297
    1998 IMP Classics 6702739
    1998 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 3313
    1998 Materiali 90102
    1998 Albany Music Distribution 274
    1998 Avid 639
    1998 Avalon Records 22
    1998 Halcyon DHDL 101
    1997 Channel Classics 5293
    1997 Madacy 2977
    1997 Channel Crossings 8395
    1997 Cala Records 0516
    1997 Ars Harmonica 034
    1997 Centaur Records 2328
    1996 Carlton 70063
    1996 Showtunes 1929
    1996 Carlton 372
    1996 Turtle Creek Chorale 1090
    1996 Memoir Classics 501
    1995 Connoisseur Society 4191
    1995 Avid 520
    1995 Silva Treasury 3007
    1995 Avid 521
    1995 Koch Classics 322040
    1995 Cala Records 0108
    1994 ASV CDWHL 2078
    1994 Walsingham 9000
    1994 Pearl GEMMCD 9483
    1993 Musicmasters / MusicMasters 67104
    1993 Mercury 434327
    1993 Vanguard 6002
    1993 Freenote / Freenote Productions 11
    1993 Newport Classic 85557
    1993 Sugo 89356
    1993 Sugo 89356
    1993 ASV / ASV/Living Era 2077
    1993 White Line / ASV / ASV/Living Era CDWHL 2077
    1992 Nonesuch 79151
    1992 Angel Records / Capitol 64670
    1992 EMI Classics / Angel Records CDQ-54530
    1990 CBS Records 39700
    1990 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 6490
    1989 CBS Records / Columbia 7927
    1988 Centaur Records 2486
    1987 Angel Records / Warner Classics 0777747454
    Capitol 29384
    Hit Label 026
    Memoir Classics 502
    Alanna 5564
    Crystal Records Dist. 764
    Mastersound 214
    Stradivari 6039
    IMP Classics 6700632
    Schnitzer Productions LLC 1006
    Smithsonian Records 107
    EMI Music Distribution 57231
    Fone 9703
    BBBC
    Telarc Distribution 83337
    Bandleader 5059
    FSM Adagio 97708
    Teldec 60742
    Stereophile 010
    Nonesuch
    Music Club Records 183
    Jody Graves 3859
    Soundscreen 5151