9780805040777 / 0805040773

Irving Berlin: American Troubadour


Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.



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About the book:

Although he could play piano in only one key--F-sharp--and never learned to read music, or to transcribe it, Irving Berlin published some eight hundred songs, dozens of them part of the enduring body of Broadway lore. Berlin was born in Russia in 1888, four years before his family emigrated to America and settled in New York City. His teenage years were spent working as a busker and singing waiter in the flamboyantly disreputable Bowery bars.

Berlin published his first song in 1911. A prolific combination of genius and schmaltz, he would go on to compose some of the most popular songs--"White Christmas," "Easter Parade," "God Bless America"--and stage and screen musicals--There's No Business Like Show Business, Top Hat, Annie Get Your Gun--the stifling darkness of oppression, the greed of the ruling classes. For the world's elite, the near-universal adoption of capitalism today reveals history as a narrative of unbroken progress.

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