Manual My First Broadway Song Book: A Treasury of Favorite Songs to Play

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She died six months later of typhoid fever contracted during their honeymoon in Havana. The song he wrote to express his grief, "When I Lost You," was his first ballad.

It was an immediate popular hit and sold more than a million copies. He began to realize that ragtime was not a good musical style for serious romantic expression, and over the next few years adapted his style by writing more love songs. By he had written hundreds of songs, mostly topical, which enjoyed brief popularity.

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Many of the songs were for the new dances then appearing, such as the "grizzly bear", "chicken walk", or fox trot. During this period, he was creating a few new songs every week, including songs aimed at the various immigrant cultures arriving from Europe. On one occasion, Berlin, whose face was still not known, was on a train trip and decided to entertain the fellow passengers with some music. They asked him how he knew so many hit songs, and Berlin modestly replied, "I wrote them. An important song that Berlin wrote during his transition from writing ragtime to lyrical ballads was " A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody ," which became one of Berlin's "first big guns," says historian Alec Wilder.

The song was written for Ziegfeld 's Follies of and became the musical's lead song. Its popularity was so great that it later became the theme for all of Ziegfeld's revues, and the theme song in the film The Great Ziegfeld. Berlin wrote the song, "For Your Country and My Country", stating that "we must speak with the sword not the pen to show our appreciation to America for opening up her heart and welcoming every immigrant group.

In , Berlin was drafted into the United States Army , and the news of his induction became headline news, with one paper headline reading, "Army Takes Berlin! While stationed with the nd Depot Brigade at Camp Upton , he then composed an all-soldier musical revue titled " Yip Yip Yaphank ", written to be patriotic tribute to the United States Army.


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By the following summer, the show was taken to Broadway where it also included a number of hits, including " Mandy " and " Oh! One song he wrote for the show but decided not to use, he would introduce twenty years later: "God Bless America.

He maintained an interest in the theater throughout his life, and even in his last years was known to call the Shubert Organization , his partner, to check on the receipts. In its early years, the theater was a showcase for revues by Berlin. As theater owner, producer and composer, he looked after every detail of his shows, from the costumes and sets to the casting and musical arrangements.

It was the home of Berlin's "Music Box Revue" from to and "As Thousands Cheer" in and today includes an exhibition devoted to Berlin in the lobby.

George Gershwin - Wikipedia

When they quarreled and parted in the bitter-sweetness of the s, it was Berlin who gave eloquence to their heartbreak by way of " What'll I Do " and "Remember" and "All Alone. This ballad of love and longing was a hit record for Paul Whiteman and had several other successful recordings in Twenty-four years later, the song went to no.

Written when he fell in love with Ellin Mackay, who later became his wife. The song became a hit twice for Vincent Lopez and George Olsen in its first incarnation. There were four more hit versions in — In , Sammy Turner took the song to no. It became Patsy Cline 's postmortem anthem and hit no. Patsy Cline", played a two-year Nashville run that ended in Written after his first daughter's birth, he distilled his feelings about being married and a father for the first time: "Blue days, all of them gone; nothing but blue skies, from now on.

In , it returned to the top 10 on the charts with Count Basie and Benny Goodman. In , Willie Nelson made the song a no. An instant standard with one of Berlin's most "intricately syncopated choruses", this song is associated with Fred Astaire , who sang and danced to it in the film Blue Skies. The song was written in with a separate set of lyrics and was introduced by Harry Richman in of the same name. In , Clark Gable sang it in the movie Idiot's Delight. In it was featured in the movie Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks , and was a no.

It was on the charts at no. Aretha Franklin produced a single of the song in , 31 years later. Performed by Dick Powell in the film On the Avenue. Later it had four top versions, including by Billie Holiday and Les Brown , who took it to no. The song was written by Berlin twenty years earlier, but he filed it away until when Kate Smith needed a patriotic song to mark the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day , celebrating the end of World War I.

Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellin Barrett, states that the song was actually "very personal" for her father, and was intended as an expression of his deep gratitude to the nation for merely "allowing" him, an immigrant raised in poverty, to become a successful songwriter. Over the decades it has earned millions for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts , to whom Berlin assigned all royalties.

George Gershwin

Eisenhower for contributing the song. The song was heard after September 11, , as U. It is often played by sports teams such as major league baseball. The Philadelphia Flyers hockey team started playing it before crucial contests. When the U. Olympic hockey team pulled off the "greatest upset in sports history," referred to as the " Miracle on Ice ", the players spontaneously sang it as Americans were overcome by patriotism. Though most of his works for the Broadway stage took the form of revues—collections of songs with no unifying plot—he did write a number of book shows.

The Cocoanuts was a light comedy with a cast featuring, among others, the Marx Brothers. Face the Music was a political satire with a book by Moss Hart , and Louisiana Purchase was a satire of a Southern politician obviously based on the exploits of Huey Long. As Thousands Cheer was a revue, also with book by Moss Hart, with a theme: each number was presented as an item in a newspaper, some of them touching on issues of the day. The show yielded a succession of hit songs, including " Easter Parade " sung by Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb, " Heat Wave " presented as the weather forecast , "Harlem on My Mind", and " Supper Time ", a song about racial violence inspired by a newspaper headline about a lynching, sung by Ethel Waters.

She once said about the song, "If one song can tell the whole tragic history of a race, 'Supper Time' was that song. In singing it I was telling my comfortable, well-fed, well-dressed listeners about my people Berlin loved his country, and wrote many songs reflecting his patriotism. His most notable and valuable contribution to the war effort was a stage show he wrote called " This is the Army ".

It was taken to Broadway and then on to Washington, D. Roosevelt attended. It was eventually shown at military bases throughout the world, including London, North Africa, Italy, Middle East, and Pacific countries, sometimes in close proximity to battle zones. Berlin wrote nearly three dozen songs for the show which contained a cast of men.

He supervised the production and traveled with it, always singing " Oh! The show kept him away from his family for three and a half years, during which time he took neither salary nor expenses, and turned over all profits to the Army Emergency Relief Fund. The play was adapted into a movie of the same name in , directed by Michael Curtiz , co-starring Joan Leslie and Ronald Reagan , who was then an army lieutenant. Kate Smith also sang "God Bless America" in the film with a backdrop showing families anxious over the coming war.

The show became a hit movie and a morale-boosting road show that toured the battlefronts of Europe. His daughter, Mary Ellin Barrett , who was 15 when she was at the opening-night performance of " This is the Army " on Broadway, remembered that when her father, who normally shunned the spotlight, appeared in the second act in soldier's garb to sing "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," he was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted 10 minutes.

She adds that he was in his mid's at the time, and later declared those years with the show were the "most thrilling time of his life. Loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley , the music and lyrics were written by Berlin, with a book by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy Fields , and directed by Joshua Logan. At first Berlin refused to take on the job, claiming that he knew nothing about " hillbilly music", but the show ran for 1, performances and became his most successful score.

It is said that the showstopper song, " There's No Business Like Show Business ", was almost left out of the show altogether because Berlin mistakenly thought that Rodgers and Hammerstein didn't like it.

However, it became the "ultimate uptempo show tune. On the origin of another of the play's leading songs, Logan described how he and Hammerstein privately discussed wanting another duet between Annie and Frank. Berlin overheard their conversation, and although the show was to go into rehearsal within days, he wrote the song "Anything You Can Do" a few hours later. One reviewer commented about the play's score, that "its tough wisecracking lyrics are as tersely all-knowing as its melody, which is nailed down in brassy syncopated lines that have been copied—but never equaled in sheer melodic memorability—by hundreds of theater composers ever since.

Apparently the "creative spurt" in which Berlin turned out several songs for the score in a single weekend was an anomaly. According to his daughter, he usually "sweated blood" to write his songs.