Recorded February 24, 1915
Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin in May 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 has become 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 is a composer and lyricist in hot demand.
The first cylinder recordings by the Columbia Male Quartet were made in the late 1890s. By 1904, the group’s membership had solidified with Albert Campbell(tenor) and Henry Burr(tenor) as well as Steve Porter(baritone). As their popularity grew, The Peerless Quartet recorded with all the popular labels whenever they could. Their hits include “I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad)” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1911) and recently in reaction the the war in Europe “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier(1914).”
On February 24, 1915 The Peerless Quartet went to the Victor Record studios to record “The Syncopated Walk” from the Broadway musical “Watch Your Step” with words and music by Irving Berlin.