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

God Bless America

God Bless America

Irving Berlin’s patriotic love song to his adopted homeland was hidden away for over twenty years before being publicly made known. Irving Berlin was a Russian immigrant living in New York City.  Growing up, Berlin often heard his mother say “God Bless America.” Berlin later said about his mother, “without America, her family would have 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

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

Easter Parade

Easter Parade

With Easter closely approaching, I thought we’d take a look at some Easter songs. The song, Easter Parade, was introduced in the 1933 musical, As Thousands Cheer. In the musical this song was sung by Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb. Irving Berlin wrote the song for the musical, As Thousands Cheer. The melody was written 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