Irving Berlin

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Related to Irving Berlin: Cole Porter, George Gershwin

Berlin, Irving

(bərlĭn`), 1888–1989, American songwriter, b. Russia as Israel Baline; his Jewish family fled a pogrom in 1893 and settled in New York's Lower East Side. Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911) was his first outstanding hit. In 1918, while he was in the army, he wrote, produced, and acted in Yip, Yip, Yaphank, which he rewrote in 1942 as This Is the Army. Berlin wrote songs for several of the Ziegfeld Follies and the Music Box Revue (1921–24) as well as the Broadway musicals As Thousands Cheer (1933), Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Miss Liberty (1949), Call Me Madam (1950), and Mr. President (1962). He was the composer of numerous film scores, and several of his stage musicals were filmed. Among his nearly 1,000 songs the best known include "God Bless America," "Easter Parade," "White Christmas," and "There's No Business like Show Business."


See his early songs ed. by C. Hamm (1995) and complete lyrics ed. by R. Kimball and L. Emmet (2001); memoir by M. E. Barrett, his daughter (1994); biographies by M. Freedland (1974), L. Bergreen (1990), E. Jablonski (1999), and J. Kaplan (2019).

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Berlin, Irving (b. Israel Baline)

(1888–1990) composer, lyricist; born in Temun, Siberian Russia. His father was a cantor and the family fled pogroms and emigrated to the United States when he was a child. Living in New York, Irving joined a synagogue choir and at age 14 sang popular songs on street corners and in cafes. A singing waiter in 1906, he taught himself piano and began writing songs; his first song was published mistakenly under "I. Berlin" and from then on he called himself Irving Berlin. He turned out a series of mildly popular songs sung by such fledgling stars as Eddie Cantor and Fanny Brice and wrote his first complete Broadway score in 1914; but it was his song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1916) that brought him national popularity. In the army in 1918, he composed a musical performed by army personnel for benefits, Yip, Yip, Yaphank (1918), that included "Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning." Throughout the next four decades, he wrote successful stage and film musicals which included many American standards, such as "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" (1919), "Blue Skies" (1926), "Puttin' on the Ritz" (1930), and "Easter Parade" (1933). In 1938, on the eve of World War II, he wrote "God Bless America," unofficially adopted as the second national anthem. For the 1942 film Holiday Inn he wrote "White Christmas," which became Bing Crosby's signature song. During World War II he wrote another all-soldier musical, This Is the Army (1942). His most successful stage musical was Annie Get Your Gun (1946) starring Ethel Merman. In 1974 he presented his piano (which he played only by ear and in the key of F-sharp major) to the Smithsonian as a gesture of his retirement. In 1977 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford for his patriotic contributions during the two world wars; but to many people throughout the world he was beloved as the best all-around popular songwriter of the century.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sears treats Berlin's views on race rather superficially in his discussion of the essay "Irving Berlin Orders Song Word Change." This piece, extracted from the Ridsmorld Afro-American, tells how Berlin altered a lyric in "Abraham" following a complaint by the African American community.
Irving Berlin in 1912, the year he wrote Alexander's Ragtime Band
Finally, he applauds white composers like Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, and George Gershwin for infusing the feel of "Negro blues" into their music.
Irving Berlin's Broadway," which chronicles the composer's career through rare theater playbills, publicity photos, magazine illustrations, musical scores, and original theater designs.
The complete lyrics of Irving Berlin. (reprint, 2000)
Comprised of selections from famous authors ranging from Cato to Irving Berlin, Proust to Steinbeck, from the fifth century to the present, the pieces cover all aspects of eating from soup to nuts.
Shelton, as Neil Diamond, and Sweeney will sing You Don't Bring Me Flowers on the show, which will be screened on ITV1 tomorrow night The star-studded edition will feature duets, including magician Paul Daniels and wife Debbie McGee as tramps Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in the Irving Berlin musical Easter Parade Camp Scottish designers Colin and Justin will appear as 1990s heartthrobs Robson and Jerome.
He seems to be doing all the work, singing Irving Berlin's "Isn't It a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain." But as she listens, you see her resistance melting away bit by bit.
The Songwriter Goes To War: The Story of Irving Berlin's World War II All-Army Production of This Is The Army is the long-lost true story of frontline show business--from the hustle and bustle of its large-scale production including the transportation of of a full-scale Broadway musical revue to Great Britain during the blitz, to its premier at theaters, subsequent reception, and role in keeping up morale.
(for two pianos, four hands), by Irving Berlin. Arranged by Don Heitler and Jim Lyke.
They include Albert Einstein, Irving Berlin, baseball great Hank Greenberg, Gilda Radner, and twenty thousand Holocaust victims.
Americans have taken the music of composer Irving Berlin to heart.