" is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin
for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess
. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based. The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt ... one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote ...
Heyward's inspiration for the lyrics was the southern folk spiritual-lullaby "All My Trials
", of which he had Clara sing a snippet in his play Porgy. Gershwin's highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century". The song is recognized as among the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers. Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. Gershwin had completed setting DuBose Heyward's poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months completing and orchestrating the score of the opera. The song is sung several times throughout Porgy and Bess. The 1959 movie version of the musical featured Loulie Jean Norman
singing the song.