AMERICAN MUSICIANS... GEORGE GERSHWIN
George Gershwin (1898- 1937) Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was a world-renowned composer and pianist whose work defined the grand tradition of American popular music. He was one of the most sought after musicians of his time and many of his musicals can still be viewed today on Broadway. In 1919 Gershwin debuted with "Swanee" his first song, with lyrics by Irving Caesar. It is most often associated with singer Al Jolson.
The song was written for a New York City revue called "Demi-Tasse", which opened in October 1919 in the Capitol Theater. Caesar and Gershwin, who was then aged 20, claimed to have written the song in about ten minutes riding on a bus in Manhattan, finishing it at Gershwin's apartment. George Gershwin died July 11, 1937 of a brain tumor; he was not quite 39 years old.