As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin
Viking, 1990 - 658 páginas
The first full biography of the king of American songwriters. Berlin's life spanned 101 years and his career extended from the heyday of vaudeville to the hegemony of rock. He wrote lyrics and music for some 1,500 songs, of which an unparalleled 25 reached the #1 spot on the weekly popular music charts, from "Alexander's Ragtime Band," and "God Bless America" to "White Christmas," the most popular song of all time. This unerring instinct for the popular taste was Irving Berlin's hallmark--more than any other songwriter he knew what Americans wanted to hear, what songs would express their longings, their fears, their feelings. And no wonder--for Berlin's life is a typically American rags-to-riches saga that moves from czarist Russia to the grimy vitality and honky-tonk glamour of New York's Lower East Side, from Tin Pan Alley to the glitter of Broadway and the dream factory of Hollywood. Its characters are themselves the stuff of legend: George M. Cohan, Florenz Ziegfeld, Al Jolson, Marilyn Miller, Alexander Woollcott, George Gershwin, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Cole Porter, Ethel Merman. And at its heart is a great romance: the story of how this son of a Jewish cantor courted and eloped with the daughter of an Irish-American Catholic millionaire, scandalizing society and causing her family to cut her off completely. Laurence Bergreen's masterful biography, containing a complete chronology of all Berlin's 1,500 songs as well as his scores for Broadway and Hollywood, is the result of more than two hundred interviews and three and a half years of research in a dozen archives around the country. Rich in anecdote and full of memorable characters, As Thousands Cheer not only chronicles Irving Berlin's remarkable life, but weaves his words and music into the tapestry of twentieth-century America. --Adapted from dust jacket.
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