“Gigi” by Frederick Loewe (ft. Daniel Massey)
Frederick Loewe’s “Gigi” is based on a musical which itself is based on a novella. We have not seen the musical nor read the book. However, based on what we’ve been able to gather, the lyrics are being relayed from the perspective of a dude named Gaston who is a friend of the titular Gigi.
Up until this point, despite the two of them not being blood-related, the relationship they share is akin to a siblinghood. Gaston considers Gigi to be his “awkward” little sister. But now, after seeing her actually dressed like a woman, his feelings have instantly changed.
So now in the narrator’s mind, gone is the tomboyish Gigi of days past. And instead there is an alluring, womanly figure that stands before him. And you may notice that a good portion of the wording is actually presented as queries. In fact it can be quite confusing when a dude has long enjoyed a platonic relationship with a girl and suddenly, just like that, finds himself turned on by her. Poor Gaston!
Thesis Sentiment of “Gigi”
But as far as the thesis sentiment goes, it isn’t so much about the singer unexpectedly finding himself attracted to Gigi. Rather it’s more like he’s kicking himself for not noticing that she actually budded into a beautiful young woman right underneath his nose. It is not clear why exactly he feels this way. However, the sentimental implication is something like maybe he feels that he missed an opportunity to have a lover who is also an established friend.
Indeed the full story of Gigi ultimately concludes with this narrator, Gaston, proposing to her. So even though he never flat out expresses love or even romantic intent in the lyrics of the song per se, such is definitely what he’s alluding to. And as noted, these feelings completely struck him out of the blue. So again, such is the reason why he comes off as being quite confused.
Writing Credits for “Gigi”?
Yes. The authors of this piece were a songwriting pair known as Lerner and Loewe, aka Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986) and Frederick Loewe (1901-1988). The former was a lyricist and the latter a composer, and they specialized in putting together musicals. In fact this particular song is the title track, if you will, of a musical they came up with based on a novel of the same name.
Frederick Loewe, who is credited as the singer of “Gigi”, was actually an Austrian-American who spent the first 23 years of his life based in Berlin. He was a musical prodigy. For instance, he set a record at the age of 13 as being the youngest pianist to ever play solo for the Berlin Philharmonic. When his family migrated to New York City during the early 1920s, his personal goal was to write Broadway musicals.
It still took him a couple of more decades to really break into the field. However, at the end of the day he ended up being one of the most-accomplished composers in American theatre history. This was particularly due to his efforts alongside the aforementioned Alan Jay Lerner. Both Lerner and Loewe were responsible for a number of popular musicals. Some of their notable works include My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960).
One Daniel Massey (1933-1998) is credited as a featured artist. He was actually the actor who portrayed Gaston during the original Broadway production of Gigi.
When was “Gigi” released?
Whereas Gigi did not come out as a live musical until 1973, it was released as a film in 1958. In fact according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, i.e. the organization behind the Academy Awards, it was one of the greatest movies of all time. It eventually took home a record (at the time) nine Oscars (winning every category it was nominated in) in 1959. So that means Lerner and Loewe likely penned the song sometime during the late 1950s.
In fact the aforementioned novella upon which the entire Gigi franchise is based dates back to 1944. And it was written by a French female author who simply went by the name of Colette (1873-1954).