Dates: 1888-1989
Born in: Temun, Russia
Major Events

Birth name, Israel Baline

1892:Came to Lower East Side of Manhattan

At age fourteen became singing waiter at various Lower East Side saloons

1908: wrote first song, Dorando with Ted Snyder

1911: first huge hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band

1914: first full score for Broadway: Watch Your Step

1926; married Ellin Mackay, heiress to the Comstock silver fortune, over the objections of her father

Continued to write popular songs, movie scores and musicals until the mid-1960s

Major Publications
Major songs

1910:Alexander's Ragtime Band

1914:I Want to Go Back to Michigan

1918:Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning

1921:All By Myself

1924:What'll I Do?


1927:Blue Skies

1929:Puttin' on the Ritz

1932:How Deep is the Ocean

1933:Easter Parade

1935:Top Hat

1935:Cheek to Cheek

1938:God Bless America

1942:White Christmas

1946:There's No Business Like Show Business

Interview with Berlin
I Want To Go Back To Michigan
Links to Texts:
Related link:

Berlin became, for much of the twentieth century, the spokeperson in popular song for Americanization. The irony, of course, was that he was a Jewish immigrant from Russia, the son of a part-time cantor, and subject to anti-semitic attacks for much of his early career. For an example, see this excerpt from Henry Ford's The Dearborn Independent