Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”: Fritz Kreisler’s 1927 Recording

Irving Berlin’s timeless 1926 song, Blue Skies, was a last-minute addition to a Rodgers and Hart musical called Betsy, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld. The vaudeville singer and actress, Belle Baker, called up Berlin complaining that the show’s score didn’t contain a “Belle Baker song.” According to Philip Furia and Michael Lasser, Berlin resented the interpolation of songs by other composers into the score of his shows, but he must have been delighted at the …

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Let’s Start the New Year Right

(Above: Bing Crosby, Virginia Dale, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn.) Happy New Year! The first day of January may be a time to sweep up the confetti and put away the party hats, but take a moment and listen to Irving Berlin’s Let’s Start the New Year Right. This suave melody, sung  by the golden-toned Bing Crosby, was written for the 1942 Paramount Pictures classic, Holiday Inn. (White Christmas became the smash hit from …

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Heifetz Plays "White Christmas"

  If you’ve never heard Jascha Heifetz’s 1944 recording of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, take a moment and listen. White Christmas was first performed by Bing Crosby on Christmas Day, 1941. Crosby’s single sold 50 million copies and stands as the best-selling single of all time. The song resonated with soldiers stationed abroad during the Second World War. Around the time this recording was made, Heifetz assisted the war effort by performing USO-organized concerts for troops …

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