Irving Berlin

By including the name of a musical instrument such as piano, banjo and clarinet in his song titles, Irving Berlin became an advocate and promoter of our industry! The great American songwriter (who, by the way, was born in Russia) penned dozens of classic hit songs such as “White Christmas” and “God Bless America.” To celebrate his influence, the NAMM Resource Center has assembled several pieces of sheet music. These songs include one of his earliest, “Piano Man” from 1907. In 1911, Mr. Berlin wrote about a brass band that veered away from the popular traditional march and played the somewhat naughty ragtime music. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” became a monster hit, selling millions in sheet music and inspired hundreds of performers to record their own version of the song. The song did something more, it inspirited nonprofessionals to pick up an instrument and play the song themselves, thus motivating many young music makers. For this, we thank Mr. Berlin and celebrate his many contributions to music.

 

Michelle Schedler
NAMM Archivist & Oral History Coordinator

 

Dan Del Fiorentino
Music Historian
dand@namm.org