3-18-17 8:00 PM EST: A few of us might learn something new tonight. It's possible. We already know a lot, but there's always room for more. First, did you know that today is the day, back in 1911, that Irving Berlin copyrighted his song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band"? It is. History.com said so. In fact here's the interesting write-up in their March 18th "Today in History" piece.
It was a much "simpler" time in 1911. Money in music was made predominantly via live performance or the selling of sheet music to new songs. It was in this sheet music business where "Alexander's Ragtime Band" really took off.
It was written in an easier style for average pianists to play. The left and hand rights weren't nearly as busy as they had to be to play other ragtime tunes like those of Scott Joplin. Thus, people bought the sheet music and played it on their pianos for friends, at intimate gatherings, dances, and such. Word of mouth spread the song. "Sales topped 1.5 million copies in the first 18 months after its publication."
Here's Bing Crosby and Al Jolson singing it.
Here are the Andrew's Sisters singing it with some "Swing" thrown in.
Did you know that Irving Berlin lived to 101 years? He was born in 1888 and died in 1989. Just imagine the scientific advancements he saw during that time, much of which was in the way music was distributed.
Berlin was also the man who wrote "White Christmas", among so many others. It is said that the morning after writing White Christmas he went to his office and told his secretary, and I paraphrase..."Ive just written the best song I've ever written...hell, I've just written the best song anyone has ever written!" Yes, he was very enthused about that one, and that excitement/enthusiasm proved altogether warranted.
As an aside, I once heard that the last 4 letters in the word "enthusiasm 'IASM' stands for "I am sold myself".
I've also just heard that Chuck Barry died today at the age of 90. He left quite a legacy too. Who is more iconic than he? Two very different Americans who both contributed sooo much to American culture.
So there's our theme, friends. Old and older American classics, from the very early 20th century to the mid 20th century...roughly 1900-1960 or so!