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Great song Writer: Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
History:
 Born in Russia (May 11, 1888)
 Moved to New York, age 5
 Attended public schools.
 Father taught him how to sing
 After father’s death, he had to drop out of
school to help support his family.
 Once his siblings were old enough to work, he left home to the streets to find
a proper job.
 He joined saloons to sing popular tunes to customers.
 All of his income was devoted to his music.
 He got a job as a singing waiter.
 Berlin taught himself how to play the piano on his past-time
 Berlin sang with George Cohan when they were both young and became wellknown
 In 1908, he found a new job at a different saloon where he could collaborate
with other young songwriters.
 He became a staff lyricist with the Ted Snyder Company
 Started performing on Vaudeville and on the Broadway musical “Up and
Down Broadway” (1910, 21 years old)
 Member of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers) (1914)
 Got enlisted to the US Army in WWI as a composer to write songs of
patriotism (age 30) (1941)
 After the war, he made his own public-relations firm and built the Music Box
Theater in New York with Sam Harris
Influences to Musical Theater
 Received many awards, and most of his musicals and songs were preformed
on Broadway.
 Huge impact on the Musical Theater business because he wrote most of the
hits from Broadway, and received many good reviews from the public.
 He wrote 1500 songs during his lifetime.
 He set the tone of popular American tunes over the 20th century
 Wrote 19 Broadway shows
 Wrote 18 Hollywood films
 1906-1966- produced sheet music, Broadway shows, recordings, films,
television, songs played on the radio.
Hit songs/musicals:
 “White Christmas”-Musical
 “No Business Like Show Business” (1946) –Annie Get Your Gun


“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (first hit song)
“This is the Army” (1943) -Musical