This is the fifth in a series of posts about the tunes on "Retrophonic Gershwin," our soon-to-be-released album. Part 1 is "How I Got Rhythm," part 2 is ""Probably I'll Meet Him at a Soda Fountain,"" part 3 is "Which Pianist is Playing What?," and part 4 is "Silver Linings."
"They All Laughed" has long been one of my favorite Ira Gershwin lyrics, perhaps because of the sneaky way it turns out to be a love song. I think I also connect with it because when Mark & I started specializing in vintage vocal styles and I began doing note-for-note transcriptions of the accompaniments, many people told us we were crazy. At times, in the midst of some particularly thorny arrangement, I still do — but back to the song: it was one of the first George and Ira wrote for the 1937 RKO film, Shall We Dance. Ginger Rogers sings the verse and chorus in a chic art deco club, then she dances with Fred Astaire, at the end of which he tosses her up onto a white piano and then joins her himself.
For the version we recorded (and perform in our show, Gershwin On the Air,) I used a little higher key than Ginger's, but more-or-less adapted the original film orchestration for two pianos, then segued into the interlude and second chorus from the 1937 recording that Fred Astaire did with Johnny Green and his Orchestra for Brunswick Records. More on Johnny Green, George and Ira Gershwin, and Fred Astaire next week, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy our version of "They All Laughed," which will be released in July. Mark Flanders comes in on the second chorus, and the pianists are Jason Aquila and Jodie Ricci.