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The Music Of Irving Berlin, Page 2

 

This is a continuation of the February, 2003 Feature, if you missed page one, check the link at the end of this page or use this link.

 

 




Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning

1918

 


Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: unsigned

 

World War One brought out both Berlin's patriotism and his best humor in writing songs that would entertain the people left at the homefront. As we said in our series about World War One music, one of the objectives of Tin Pan Alley during the war was to assuage the pain and uplift spirits. Berlin took that responsibility seriously and though he wrote many songs during the war, two stand apart from the others, this one and the next, They Were All Out Of Step But Jim.

 

During the war, Berlin joined up, as many entertainers did during both wars, and was stationed at Camp Upton at Yiphank, Long Island, a temporary camp for those about to head to the front in Europe. It was here that Berlin was exposed to the infantryman's bane, the wake up bugler. According to the sheet music, Berlin dedicated the song to a fellow private, Howard Friend, "who occupies the cot next to mine and feels as I do about the Bugler." It was also at Upton that Berlin, convinced that the troops needed to be entertained, wrote an show that starred only soldiers, Yip, Yip Yaphank in 1918. After tryouts at the camp theater, the show premiered at the Century Theater in New York on July 26, 1918, the show contained this song which became an instant hit. The infectious tune and good humored lyrics make this song one of the greatest to come out of the War and further established Berlin as a great songwriter. As with most shows, some songs written for it were not used in the final production, a common occurrence in the creation of musical shows. One melody he dropped from the show was one he thought too dreary for the time and nature of the show. He would later dust off this tune, add new lyrics to it and produce it in 1939 as the great inspirational patriotic song, God Bless America.

 

Listen to and see this "Bugler" song (scorch format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


 


They Were All Out Of Step But Jim

1918



Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: Barbelle


The second great memorable song to come from Berlin during the War was this one, another novelty work that shows him at his best. Starting out as a private and eventually making it to Sergeant, Berlin certainly was wise to the ways of the front line soldier. Though he admitted he was not much of a soldier and that it was not his trade, Berlin served well and learned the basics in addition to helping morale of the troops and the folks at home.

 


Certainly, a joke that has existed since soldiers started marching (such as this group at Camp Upton in 1917) was the idea that when a soldier was out of step, it was everyone else who was wrong. With this song, Berlin codified the concept and since then it has become a standard concept related to anyone being out of step. No doubt inspired by his time in camp, Berlin has created one of his happiest tunes and combined it with some funny lyrics to bring us a song that no doubt brought many a smile to the folks on the homefront. This one is so much fun we've included it as one of this month's printable scores for those of you who want to play it and sing it at home. Enjoy this great Berlin song!


Hear and see this Berlin War song Printable sheet music! (Scorch format only)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


 


Nobody Knows (And Nobody Seems To Care)

1919



Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: "RS"

 

After the war, once again a civilian, Berlin continued to write wonderful music but at this time he also began to expand his activities beyond songwriting. It was during these years that he started his own publishing company, Irving Berlin, Inc., the publisher of this song. Up till now, he had been teamed with Waterson and Snyder in the form of Waterson, Berlin & Snyder, the publishing house who had been printing his songs up till now. According to Ewen (p. 25), the occasion of the formation of his own publishing house inspired an "Irving Berlin Week" across the country where his music was performed in theaters and nightclubs nationwide. Here we have a man who still has 50 years of creativity ahead of him, already lauded as one of America's best songwriters. As good as his music was at this stage, the best was yet to come.

 

This song, not one often seen or heard today (also in printable format for you to enjoy at home) seems to find Berlin in another of his sad and lonesome moods and for those of us who have had our sad moments, it captures the emotion well. Use of chromatic passages and a minor tone, he brings us into his mood quite nicely. At this point, Berlin had been single for seven years and was no doubt truly feeling lonely himself. In just a few short years, he would find his soul mate and be married again. Till then we'd just have to share his melancholy with him.

 


Listen to and see this great work Printable! (Scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It

1920



Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist: "RS"


Perhaps a skirmish with another potential bride prompted Berlin to write this humorous look at people who have an insatiable appetite for anything and then once attained, move on to something else. I think one of Berlin's many talents was his ability to capture much of human nature and emotion in song. In general, I believe songwriters have that talent much more so than the rest of us. Among them, Berlin seems to reign supreme. Perhaps he had an ability to see the most basic elements of human nature better than most of us. In fact, he certainly did have the ability to put it into song. As in this case, he was able to take a serious character defect and put it into an almost humorous setting, yet still make it painfully obvious that it was a defect. I believe that this insight and ability to speak to our emotions so honestly is what takes a good songwriter to the level of "best." I see this characteristic in Berlin and as we've seen from some of our other issues, we've seen it in the greatest songwriters such as Charles K. Harris and Carrie Jacobs-Bond. These writers and others seem to have a sense as to what is important, when it is important and how to touch our soul with their songs.

 

With yet another of his characteristically harmonized melodies, Berlin has given us a great tune and a great story through his lyrics. It's almost as though he is talking directly to someone and telling them exactly what he thinks. I have this theory that all songs are inspired by actual events in a songwriter's life. That life's happenings and emotions are what inspires their songs and without that true life inspiration there would be no song. We do have anecdotal proof of that, in Berlin's case the aforementioned Since I Lost You. I suspect that we have a similar case here of Berlin having a certain someone he wanted to "talk to" and has done it through his music. As you listen to the song and read the lyrics, just imagine how many times you might have said the same to someone you knew. That is what makes a song a living document that speaks to our heart.

 


 


Hear this great old song (Scorch format)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 


Homesick

1922



Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist:

 

By 1922 Berlin's fame and influence in the entertainment business had continued to grow. The year before (1921), Berlin had built his own theater in New York, The Music Box, on 45th Street. The theater is still there and most recently was the venue for the play, Amour, a musical that takes place in 1950s Paris. A minor civil servant finds his life transformed by a magical ability to walk through walls. Malcolm Gets and Melissa Errico star.


According to the Music Box Theater website (http://www.theatermania.com/ny/shows/amour/theater.cfm ); The theater was built in 1921 for the sole purpose of producing the works of Irving Berlin. He eventually learned to share this wonderful space with other New York artists. Some of the shows produced here include Once in a Lifetime, Dinner at Eight, and The Man Who Came to Dinner. The Music Box has a seating capacity of 975. It was at the Music Box that Berlin staged five editions of a revue, The Music Box Revue, a lavish and star studded production that introduced many of his most famous songs during the years 1921 - 1924. It was in The Music Box Revue of 1922 that Homesick was introduced.(Photo from: http://www.readio.com/broadway-shows/index.html#Theatres)


Hear this great old song

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 




Always

1925



Music by: Irving Berlin
Lyrics by: Berlin
Cover artist:


And now we come to the year when Berlin seriously fell in love and wrote several songs for his beloved. In 1925, Berlin met a socialite, Ellin Mackay, the daughter of Clarence Mackay, the CEO of Postal Telegraph. At that time, a songwriter, even one of Berlin's stature, was considered beneath the social status of such a high born woman and Mackay tried for months to prevent a marriage between the two. At one point, Mackay sent the hapless Ellin to Europe to place her out of reach. It was during this absence that Berlin wrote some of his most beautiful love ballads, including Always. Mackay's power and efforts were for naught though and love triumphed as when Ellin returned to New York from Europe, the two were secretly married at City Hall on January 4, 1926. In a twist of irony, the two immediately left New York for a honeymoon in Europe. Surely that stuck in Mackay's craw and supposedly it was years before he allowed a reconciliation.

 

Always ushered in yet an new era in Berlin's style, one that took him from the level of superstar to that of an icon of American music. It was after 1925, that Berlin's output of lasting popular songs established him as the Dean of American popular song. Always was simply the beginning of a parade of hits that never seemed to stop. Here are just a few from the following years:

1930 - Puttin' On The Ritz (Remember Young Frankenstein?)
1932 - How deep is The Ocean, Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee
1933 - Easter Parade
1935 - Cheek To Cheek
1937 - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
1939 - God Bless America
1942 - White Christmas
1945 - All Of My Life
1946 - There's No Business Like Show Business
1954 - Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
1957 - Sayonara
1962 - In Our Hideaway

 

Sadly, our survey of his music must stop here as the newest copyright laws enacted in 1998 and just today (Jan. 14, 2003) reaffirmed by the US Supreme court have prevented any songs written after January 1, 1923 from falling into the public domain and we are unable to share this song, as well as many others by Berlin and other composers, with you till at the earliest, 2018. At some point, we hope to pay for rights to perform and display these songs however, at this time we cannot afford the fees. Therefore, regrettably, we cannot even bring you this song as whether we agree fully with the latest copyright laws or not, we are respectful of the rights of the songwriters and their heirs and assigns and do not want to infringe on those rights. For more about this, see our policy page.

 

For more about Berlin's life and what happened after 1925, be sure to visit our special biography of Berlin, a part of our ongoing "In Search Of American Song" project.

 



Sorry, you can't enjoy this incredible song here(scorch)

Nor can you listen to MIDI version

And, we can't even bring you the Lyrics

 


That completes our look at music by the great Irving Berlin. We hope you enjoyed this month's feature. As always, be sure to come back next month for a new feature or just come back anytime to browse our extensive archive of issues and special articles.

See our resources page for a complete bibliography of all resources used to research this and other articles in our series. In text citations in this issue refer to works in the bibliography except where otherwise noted.

If you missed page one, or want to return to it, click here to go to page one



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