100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

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.

On November 2, 1912 Berlin copyrighted WHEN THAT MIDNIGHT CHOO CHOO LEAVES FOR ALABAM’ . It was recorded by the team of Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan, a popular comic duet that due to their obese stature are known as the “Half-Ton Duo.”

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