- 'Puttin On The Ritz' performed by Fred Astaire (I.BERLIN)
Irving Berlin Music Corp
"Irving Berlin set the tone and the tempo for the tunes America played and sang and danced to for much of the 20th century." New York Times
Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.
Berlin’s family had been living in Russia, when they immigrated to New York in 1893. When his father died, Berlin, just turned 13, took to the streets in various odd jobs, working as a busker singing for pennies, then as a singing waiter in a Chinatown Cafe. In 1907 he published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy," and by 1911 he had his first major international hit -- "Alexander's Ragtime Band." The song sparked an international dance craze which flung the world into the ragtime beat with an abandon bordering on mania."
Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin produced an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century. His songs were uncomplicated, simple and direct, with his aim being to "reach the heart of the average American" whom he saw as the "real soul of the country."
A sampling of just some of the Irving Berlin standards includes "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Blue Skies," White Christmas," "Always," "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Cheek to Cheek," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," "Heat Wave," "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," "Easter Parade" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance." In a class by itself is his beloved paean to his beloved country, "God Bless America."During his 60-year career Irving Berlin wrote an estimated 1,500 songs.
He was equally at home writing for Broadway and Hollywood. He wrote seventeen complete scores for Broadway musicals and revues, and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring all-Berlin scores were THE COCOANUTS, AS THOUSANDS CHEER, LOUISIANA PURCHASE, MISS LIBERTY, MR. PRESIDENT, CALL ME MADAM and the phenomenally successful ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.
Among the Hollywood movie musical classics with scores by Irving Berlin are TOP HAT, FOLLOW THE FLEET, ON THE AVENUE, ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, HOLIDAY INN, THIS IS THE ARMY, BLUE SKIES, EASTER PARADE, WHITE CHRISTMAS and THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS. His songs have provided memorable moments in dozens of other films, from THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) to HOME ALONE (1991).
Among his many awards were a special Tony Award (1963) and the Academy Award for Best Song of the Year for "White Christmas" in 1942.
Berlin's songs have reached the top of the charts 25 times and have been extensively re-recorded by numerous singers including Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra, Ethel Waters, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Cher, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby, Rita Reys, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Al Jolson, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Celine Dion.
An intuitive business man, Irving Berlin was a co-founder of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), founder of his own music publishing company, and with producer Sam Harris, builder of his own Broadway theatre, The Music Box.
On September 22, 1989, at the age of 101, Irving Berlin died in his sleep in his town house in New York City.