The Lyrics of Dorothy Fields

Classical Academy | Musicals


Lyricist Dorothy Fields was one of the most successful women in the Broadway musical scene. In the early 30s she began as a lyricist, writing the unforgettable words to songs such as I Can't Give You Anything But Love and On The Sunny Side of the Street in a collaboration with composer Jimmy McHugh.


In the mid-30s she moved on to film collaborations, working a lot with Jerome Kern on, among other things, the song The Way You Look Tonight from the film Swing Time; the song went on to win them the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. Teaming up with her brother Herbert Fields in a successful librettists' partnership, she wrote the book for Annie Get Your Gun, which she originally intended for Jerome Kern until his death when Irving Berlin stepped in to write the music. This huge success ran for 1,147 performances.


In Barack Obama's inauguration speech in 2009, he echoed the lyrics of Dorothy Fields' Swing Time classic Pick Yourself Up,  saying "starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America". The song is most famously sung by the king and queen of dance Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.


Listen to the wonderful lyrics of Dorothy Fields with our special playlist. Discover more about the musical with our articel on the golden age.