Gershwin’s “Lu Lu” debuted in the Broadway Brevities of 1920, and was such a sensation that it was immediately forgotten for almost 100 years. It may be the least recorded or mentioned George Gershwin song. (Okay, many songs may tie for last place in this competition.) The few mentions it gets in Gershwin bios claim it was sung on stage by Edith Hallor. This is extremely hard to believe since the lyrics have the singer wanting to walk down the aisle and wed the woman named Lu Lu. Broadway Brevities attempted to break all the rules with it salacious subject matter, but a “gay wedding” meant something completely different in 1920 than what it means today. I have to assume a man sang this song in the show.
Arthur Jackson’s lyrics are fairly typical love song material here, though he did have to fit words to some very long syncopated Gershwin-esque melody lines, which Ira Gershwin became famous for making look easy. Arthur Jackson make it look a bit harder. Maybe “Lu Lu” didn’t become a big hit because the name Lu Lu is fairly uncommon, and just maybe that name isn’t hit material.
Gershwin’s song is upbeat and light — whistleable, but maybe not very distinctive for a Gershwin song. Some of my favorite parts of the song are the major seventh of the first measure of the intro and also Gershwin’s elongated melody line which appears repeatedly throughout the song which uses the same three notes and has some similarity to piano passages early in Rhapsody in Blue. So “Lu Lu” may never be a chart topper, but it does deserve to be played, heard, and enjoyed again. Send it to that special person in your life named Lu Lu, and certainly sing it at her wedding regardless of your gender.
Download fake-book style sheet music to “Lu Lu” here: Lu Lu
Lyrics to “Lu Lu” by Arthur Jackson
Always in my heart. Always on my mind.
You would have to search all the world before her equal you could find.
I don’t need to say who. You know I’m speaking of Lu Lu.
Never was another gal like Lu Lu.
Never found another pal so true blue.
She is all the world to me, and someday I’ll walk up the aisle with Lu Lu.
The minister man will make just one of two.
Little mountain daisy, it’s no wonder that I’m crazy over my Lu.