I Can't Get Started

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"I Can't Get Started"
Song
Published1936 by Chappell & Co.
Composer(s)Vernon Duke
Lyricist(s)Ira Gershwin

"I Can't Get Started", also known as "I Can't Get Started with You" or "I Can't Get Started (with You)", is a popular song. It was written in 1936 by Vernon Duke (music) and Ira Gershwin (lyrics) and introduced that year in the film Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, where it was performed by Bob Hope and Eve Arden.[1]

Hal Kemp and his Orchestra recorded it and it had a bit of popularity, rising briefly to 14th place on the recording charts.[2] Bunny Berigan's 1937 version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Recordings[edit]

Ira Gershwin noted in 1959 that "The sheet-music sale of the song never amounted to much... but an early recording by Bunny Berigan—considered by jazz devotees a sort of classic in its field—may have been a challenge (or incentive) for the great number of recordings that have followed. Not a year has gone by, in the past fifteen or so, that up to a dozen or more new recordings haven't been issued."[1]

Bunny Berigan[edit]

Bunny Berigan, a trumpeter with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, started a band in 1937 and chose "I Can't Get Started" as his theme song. He had been performing the song during the previous year at a club in New York City.[3] He made a recording for Vocalion on April 13, 1936[4] but gradually he made subtle changes in the arrangement. After forming his band, he recorded "I Can't Get Started" again, this time for Victor.[5]

Jazz trumpeter Dick Sudhalter noted the changes that had been made since the Vocalion recording. "An introduction—an extended cadenza over four different sustained chords in the key of C—had been added by this time, but otherwise Berigan's routine had not changed since the Vocalion recording. But whereas the Vocalion comes across as a virtuoso performance of a great song, the Victor version presents itself as a kind of concerto, a tour de force for a trumpeter of imagination and daring having impeccable command of his instrument."[6]

The Berigan band's recordings of "I Can't Get Started" and "The Prisoner's Song" were issued together on the twelve-inch Victor record 36208, and were a part of an album of four such records entitled A Symposium of Swing.[7] An edited version was created by Victor on December 4, 1937 and issued as 25728A.[8]

The recording was a hit and reached number 10 on the chart.[9] In 1975, Berigan's 1937 recording of "I Can't Get Started" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[10]

Berigan's recording and the song itself, however, have continued to be prized by lovers of jazz.[citation needed] Billie Holiday recorded it on September 15, 1938.[11]

Other recordings[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gershwin, Ira (1959). Lyrics on Several Occasions (First ed.). New York: Knopf. OCLC 538209.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 253. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  3. ^ Zirpolo, Mike (October 5, 2016). ""I Can't Get Started" (1937) Bunny Berigan". Swingandbeyond.com. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". 78discography.com. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". 78discography.com. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Sudhalter, Richard M. (1982). Giants of Jazz - Bunny Berigan. Time-Life Records. p. 43.
  7. ^ "78 Record: Various Artists - Sing, Sing, Sing - Part 1 (1937)". 45worlds.com. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  8. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". 78discography.com. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 52. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  10. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame". Grammy.com. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "Billie Holiday Discography". Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 155–158. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  13. ^ "Happy Time - Roy Eldridge | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  14. ^ "Newport Jazz Festival: Live at Carnegie Hall - Ella Fitzgerald | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  15. ^ "Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark - Stéphane Grappelli | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  16. ^ "Virtuoso No. 4 - Joe Pass | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  17. ^ "Soft Sands - Oscar Peterson | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  18. ^ "Lester Young With the Oscar Peterson Trio - Lester Young | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]