Another Gershwin classic is in the spotlight today, joining three others we’ve featured in the past — but for a different Special Feature. All of the previous tunes appeared on our Fantastic Foursome feature. (You can see them here: “I’ve Got a Crush on You” – “Summertime” – “‘S Wonderful”) However, today’s offering is showing up as the newest edition of Anatomy of a Song.
Written for the 1930 Broadway musical Girl Crazy, “But Not for Me” was introduced by Ginger Rogers and was just one of many classic songs in the show. A couple of years later a forgettable Girl Crazy movie featuring Bert Wheeler came along, but in 1943 the story was revised and remade as a Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland musical comedy. Judy’s performance of the song in the movie was memorable. (Video below.)
Like most good songs from the era, “But Not for Me” subsequently became a standard, and has been performed and recorded by countless singers through the years. Some of the best included Billie Holiday, Chet Baker (who employed both his trumpet and his singing voice), Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. In later years it was notably covered by Harry Connick, Jr. for 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, and by Elton John for 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral.