With There's No Business Like Show Business, God Bless America, Let's Face the Music and Dance (my favorite) and scores of others, Irving Berlin's songs will be with us for a long time.
Five amazing things about him besides his success:
- His first hit was Alexander's Ragtime Band in 1911. He outlived the copyright for that song.
- He could only compose in the key of F#, which is mostly the black keys of the piano. He had a mechanism added to his piano to allow him to change keys.
- He couldn't read or write music. Not so difficult today with guitars and samplers, but his product was primarily written sheet music, not recordings.
- White Christmas and Easter Parade, two of the most popular Christian holiday songs, were written by Berlin, who was Jewish. (Quick, name three other Easter songs. It's not easy.)
- He wrote songs for 64 years: from 1907 to 1971.
Sheila Jordan's 1962 version of Let's Face the Music and Dance starts 2:16 into that file. It'll play above or here's a direct link.