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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

They Can't Take That Away from Me

By George & Ira Gershwin
1937

Last Thursday officially made three full years that Standard of the Day has been in existence, and to belatedly commemorate that milestone, today we shine the spotlight on one of the most celebrated standards of them all, which the Gershwin brothers composed for the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical, Shall We Dance. Astaire introduces the tune in the movie, singing it to Rogers in a rare musical number with no dancing. Ira's lyric is a perfect mixture of joy and sadness, as our lover declares to his paramour that no amount of distance could erase the memories they've shared. Also of note is the ingenious way the lyric pairs up very mundane aspects of the beloved ("The way you hold your knife"), with more profound aspects ("The way you changed my life"). A lilting, perfect melody from the immortal George Gershwin completes this ultimate love ballad. George Gershwin passed on shortly after the movie was released, but was posthumously nominated, along with his brother, for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to read and support SOTD. Let's continue keeping these old songs alive together, shall we?

Lyrics:

Our romance won't end on a sorrowful note, though by tomorrow you're gone.
The song is ended, but as the songwriter wrote, the melody lingers on.
They may take you from me. I'll miss your fond caress.
But though they take you from me, I'll still possess...

The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea,
The memory of all that.
No, no, they can't take that away from me.

The way your smile just beams,
The way you sing off-key,
The way you haunt my dreams.
No, no, they can't take that away from me.

We may never, never meet again on the bumpy road to love,
Still I'll always, always keep the memory of...

The way you hold your knife,
The way we danced till three,
The way you changed my life,
No, no, they can't take that away from me.
No, they can't take that away from me.

Recorded By:

Tony Bennett
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday
Charlie Parker
Frank Sinatra

5 comments:

emma wallace said...

I love, love this song. So beautiful - that little tinge of happiness and humor makes the sadness more palpable, I think.

Hello Jodi said...

Thanks so much for including the intro verse: it's one I hadn't heard!

Bob said...

Wow. I'm convinced when good men die, they become Fred Astaire. Perfection! I cannot thank you enough for this!

Sugartown Vintage Boutique said...

<3 This song, too!

B-Sol said...

Emma, I think you're onto something there. It's the poignant mix of joy and sadness that really makes the lyric work. Jodi, you can also hear the verse sung in Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour Lost. Bob, thanks for continuing to support SOTD! And Ashley, you know you rule :-)

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