Copyrighted November 2, 1912
Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin on May 12, 1888 in Russia. His family emigrated to the US in 1893. They lived in poverty in New York’s lower east side and Berlin worked whatever jobs he could to contribute to the family. He would sing in saloons for pennies and by 18 he was a singing waiter. His first song was “Marie From Sunny Italy,” The sheet music was printed with an error on the cover, his name read “I Berlin”. Berlin became a popular songwriter collaborating with many composers that were in New York. His first big hit was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” which helped introduce Ragtime to white America and started a new dance craze. Berlin became a lyricist in hot demand.