Maybe somebody here with more knowledge of this subject can set me straight, but I've sometimes wondered if Astaire isn't possibly the all-time champ in terms of the number of songs he introduced that went on to become standards. What other singers first brought us so many great songs? (I don't mean that rhetorically, but as a real question.)
I can't remember where I'd heard it, but I have heard the stat that Astaire introduced more #1 hit standards than anyone. Which if you think about it makes sense, considering his career as a leading star extended from 1925 to 1958. Besides his impeccable interpretation of songs, he also just outlasted
Speaking of, I had never heard that quote by the Gershwin before. The Gershwins wrote so much for both Astaire and his sister (Lady Be Good!
really launched all of their careers in many ways) and Astaire as a solo artist... it's very surprising.