Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

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composition date
George Gershwin
Ira Gershwin
related performer(s)
Fred Astaire

New Jersey farmer

One day in 1937, Ira Gershwin was speaking to his brother-in-law, English Strunsky,who was telling him that the local New Jersey farms didn’t understand when Strunsky said “to-mah-to” rather than “to-may-to.” Ira complained in turn that Strunsky’s sister Leonore insisted that the proper pronunciation was “eye-ther” while Ira said “ee-ther.” Pretentious or not, the Strunskys’ affected pronunciation led to one of the greatest songs in the popular repertoire.

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