White Christmas movie

Behind the Song: White Christmas

White Christmas is the most popular Christmas song of all time. The Irving Berlin song is reminiscing about an “old fashioned Christmas.” Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song.  He often stayed up all night writing or would ask his secretary to write down what he dictated. Both La Quinta Hotel Read More

counting sheep

Behind the Song: Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Count Your Blessings {Instead of Sheep} was the last hit for the popular composer Irving Berlin. The song was written sometime around 1952. Irving Berlin tells the story best: In the book The Irving Berlin Reader, a letter from Irving Berlin to Joseph Schenck and dated September 1952 includes the following information about the writing Read More

Berlin at piano

Irving Berlin, He Was American Music

Irving Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline on May 11, 1888 in Tyumen, Russian Empire.  He was one of eight children born to his parents.  In 1893 his family immigrated and settled in New York City.  By the age of eight he’d quit school and was selling newspapers.  While selling papers he would hear the Read More

Alexander

Alexander’s Ragtime Band

This hit was written by Irving Berlin in 1911. The belief is the song refers to the then “new ideas” of standard music that was popping up, from ragtime to the blues and jazz. Vaudeville singer Emma Carus introduced the song and helped make it popular. By the time the Titanic sailed in April 1912, Read More

Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair

Songs Heard on the Titanic

The White Star Line Songbook Had More than 150 Songs for the musicians to learn. The songs were mainly upbeat and consisted of ragtime and waltzes. Hymns would have been appropriate for Sunday services. The musicians were expected to know all of these songs by memory and play any of them upon request from a Read More

400px-Tin_Pan_Alley_plaque_crop

What is Tin Pan Alley?

Have you heard the term Tin Pan Alley but had no idea what it was? The term Tin Pan Alley refers to the songwriters and publishers of the late 19th and early 20th Century. These men were all based in New York City and were originally located at West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Read More