Born: May 11, 1888, Mohilev, Russia
Died: September 22, 1989, New York, New York
This chapter examines the work of Irving Berlin. It begins with a commentary of his career, followed by details on productions, with data and song information. Berlin’s family came to America from Russia when he was five. The son of a part-time cantor, Izzy Baline took to the streets as a singing panhandler and went on to become a singing waiter at a Chinatown saloon. It was here, in 1907 at “Nigger Mik’s,” that he wrote his first published song: Marie from Sunny Italy (music by Nick Nicholson, lyrics by “I. Berlin”). In 1908 came his first composer/lyricist effort, Best of Friends Must Part. Berlin went to work as a staff lyricist and occasional composer for publisher/songwriter Ted Snyder, soon becoming a partner in Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co.
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