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I Got Rhythm
I Got Rhythm is a song composed by George Gershwin in 1930 with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It is a song number in their musical Girl Crazy which also includes another of their hit songs, Embraceable You, and has been sung by many jazz singers since. Ethel Merman sang the song in the original Broadway production and Broadway lore holds that George Gershwin, after seeing her opening reviews, warned her never to take a singing lesson.
The song melody uses the four notes of the five-note pentatonic scale, first rising, then falling. A rhythmic interest in the song is that the tune keeps behind the main pulse, with the three "I got..." phrases syncopated, appearing one beat behind in the first bar, while the fourth phase "Who could..." rushes in to the song. The harmony of the song (the "Rhythm changes") is the foundation for many other popular jazz tunes.
The song was later expanded and used as the theme in Gershwin's last concert piece Variations on "I Got Rhythm" in 1934. The song has become iconic of the Gershwins, of swing, and of the 1920's.
The song is featured in the 1951 musical film An American in Paris. Gene Kelly sang the song and tap-danced, while children shouted the phrases "I got" each time they appeared in the lyrics.
A partial list of singers who have recorded this song would take up several pages. The most popular versions are those of Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, and, more recently, Jodi Benson.
It is a very popular jazz standard and many different songs use its chord progression, from Dizzy Gillespie's "Anthropology" to the theme tune of The Flintstones.