Although Berlin's biographer Laurence Bergreen, and the scholarly team of Robert Kimball and Linda Emmet give different accounts of the evolution of 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' from Irving Berlin's mind to the song we all know, Michael Freedland, in his 1974 biography of the composer traces the song's path through a performance at the Friars Club in New York City on the occasion of Berlin's induction into the organization at the Hotel Astor in the sprint of 1911. Freedland claims (without documentation and contrary to other accounts) that this was the first time the words to the song were heard in public. Moreover, the great George M. Cohan was there to hear it, in fact, making a speech welcoming Berlin into membership:
'Alexander's Ragtime Band' was created at the beginning of Berlin's career. It was also of significance at the mid-point of his life when, as his daughter puts it, her father 'had given himself, or been given by Darryl Zannuck, in Alexander's Ragtime Band a Hollywood movie salute to Berlin's songs, as fine a fiftieth birthday present as a. Your browser does not support the PatronManager Public Ticket application. Please use a modern browser, like Chrome, FireFox, Edge or Safari.
Irving Berlin Alexander's Ragtime Band
Irving Berlin is a Jewboy who named himself after an English actor and a German city . . . . Irvy writes a good song with a good lyric. It's music you don't have to dress up to listen to, but it is good music. He is a wonderful little fellow, wonderful in lots of ways. He has become famous and wealthy without wearing a lot of jewelry and falling for funny clothes. He is Uptown but he is there with the old Downtown hard shell. And with all his success, you will find his watch and his handkerchief in his pocket where they belong.
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Ragtime Band Magnetic Rag Joplin
'With that 'Irvy' played the piano again-- 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' of course,' the lyrics for which Freedland says Berlin had just written for this very event (Freedland, Irving Berlin, pp. 36-37).
Ragtime Band Made In Occupied Japan
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