I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise (1922)

Vocal Range


Described by a contemporary critic in 1922 as “the most perfect piece of jazz ever written,” this early Gershwin song amply demonstrates the brilliance and daring of its twenty-four-year-old composer.


All you preachers
Who delight in panning the dancing teachers:
Let me tell you there are a lot of features
Of the dance that carry you through
The gates of Heaven!
It’s madness
To be always sitting around in sadness
When you could be learning the steps of gladness.

You’ll be happy when you can do just six or seven—
Begin today! You’ll find it nice—
The quickest way to Paradise!
When you practice,
Here’s the thing to do:
Simply say as you go:

I’ll build a stairway to Paradise
With a new step every day!
I’m going to get there at any price:
Stand aside, I’m on my way!
I’ve got the blues And up above it’s so fair!
Shoes! Go on and carry me there!
I’ll build a stairway to Paradise,
With a new step every day.