Jerome Kern was born on this day, January 27, in 1885 in New York City. He died in New York on November 11, 1945.
Kern stands as one of the most important American composers of stage and film music. His memorable songs include “Long Ago (And Far Away,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and our featured song, as recorded by Tony Bennett, “All The Things You Are.”
Show Boat, written in 1927 with Oscar Hammerstein II, is perhaps his most important and long-lasting work. The score is memorable, with great songs including “Ol’ Man River,” “Bill,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.” From an historical standpoint, Show Boat is one of the earliest examples of the so-called “integrated” musicals, where the songs serve to advance the plot.
In 1935, when musical films became more popular, Kern relocated to Hollywood. Some of his film work included music for Music in the Air, I Dream Too Much, Roberta and Swing Time. Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire, included the song “The Way You Look Tonight,” which won the Academy Award for best song.
Kern and Hammerstein also wrote the song that we are featuring today: “All The Things You Are,” from the 1939 Very Warm For May. Bennett’s recording is from his 1962 Carnegie Hall concert.