One of the more interesting relationships in the musical history of New York City, is that of George Gershwin and Kay Swift.
Swift, married at the time, met Gershwin at a dinner party in 1925. They began seeing each other frequently and Gershwin introduced the classically trained Swift to show music and jazz. A talented songwriter herself, Swift began helping Gershwin with his musical thoughts.
Swift was divorced in 1934 and although her affair with Gershwin continued until Gershwin’s death in 1937, they never married. Swift’s granddaughter, author, Katharine Weber–she wrote a family memoir “The Memory of All That,” which discusses the relationship–suggests that Gershwin’s mother was unhappy that Swift wasn’t Jewish.
Swift wrote a number of tunes that are now well known and one in particular has become a popular jazz standard, “Can’t We Be Friends.” Click here to hear Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing the tune.