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The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlinby Irving Berlin
Synopses & Reviews
Gathered together in one volume for the first time: all of the incomparable song lyrics of Irving Berlin, whose career and work are the most important and all-encompassing in the history of American popular music.
Berlin came from a poor immigrant family and began his career as a singing waiter, but by the time he was nineteen he was publishing his songs and quickly found fame with "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. In the extraordinary six decades that followed, Berlin wrote one popular hit after another: "Blue Skies," "Always," "Cheek to Cheek," "White Christmas," "God Bless America," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and many, many more. He also wrote a number of the classics of musical theater's Golden Age, climaxing with Annie Get Your Gun. He penned three Astaire and Rogers films — Top Hat, Carefree, and Follow the Fleet — as well as the scores of Holiday Inn, Easter Parade, and other movies. The breadth of his accomplishments is staggering.
Berlin's entire oeuvre is here — the lyrics of more than 1,200 songs (400 of which have never before appeared in print), along with anecdotal, historical, and musicological commentary and dozens of photographs.
This beautiful volume is an invaluable contribution to the understanding and enjoyment of popular music in our time.
"Just how complete? Try 1,200-plus songs from the grand old man of Tin Pan Alley. Sure, there's 'God Bless America,' but this late-in-life lyric may strike a chord too: 'Let's stroll down memory lane again/Where there's a brighter view/Till this crazy world is sane again/And the sun come shining through.'" Entertainment Weekly
"No one else has written as many popular songs, period. Yet although he was lauded as a tunesmith of genius as far back as 1911, when he debuted "Alexander's Ragtime Band," Berlin is often undervalued as a lyricist and said to lack Cole Porter's erudition, Lorenz Hart's interior rhymes, and Johnny Mercer's homespun wisdom. The Complete Lyrics, which spans eighty-one of the composer's 101 years (1888-1989), demands that we reconsider this appraisal. In addition to highlighting his gift for economy, directness, and slang, it presents Berlin as an obsessive, often despairing commentator on the passing scene." Gary Giddins, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Gathered together in one volume for the first time are all of the incomparable song lyrics of American treasure Irving Berlin. The lyrics of more than 1,200 songs along with anecdotal, historical, and musicological commentary and photos are included. Photos.
About the Author
Robert Kimball is the editor of The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart, and The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter. He lives in New York City.
Linda Emmet, one of Irving Berlin's three daughters, lives in Paris.
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