Profile of the Day: Irving Berlin

Posted May 11, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin

Do you remember the songs “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies” or “Anything You Can Do”? They all were written by legendary composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, who was born on this day in 1888.

Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline in Tyumen, Siberia in the Russian Empire. One of eight children, Berlin and his family fled to the United States to escape Jewish persecution. The family settled in New York City in 1893, where Berlin worked to help support his family with various odd jobs. As a teen, he got his start in music as a street singer, and later as a singing waiter in Chinatown. In 1907, he published his first song, “Marie from Sunny Italy,” for which he received 33 cents. By 1911, Berlin’s career would skyrocket after his song “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” became a major international hit and sparked a dance craze in Europe.

Over the next six decades, Berlin would become one of the greatest songwriters in American history. It’s estimated that he wrote about 1,500 songs, including many for Broadway and Hollywood films. Some of his most popular songs would be recorded and re-recorded by many notable singers across the decades, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Barbra Streisand.

One of Berlin’s most famous songs is “God Bless America,” which was first written in 1918 and revised in 1938. The song was a personal expression of his feelings towards the country. After the U.S. entered World War II, the song became like a second National Anthem and its popularity would continue to endure for years to come.

What’s your favorite Irving Berlin song?

Explore Irving Berlin’s family tree on Geni and discover how you’re related to the legendary songwriter!

View Irving Berlin’s Geni Profile

Image: Library of Congress

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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