Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My favorite thing about Christmas are the songs, and one of my favorites is from the movie Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, with music by Irving Berlin. Its most famous song is the beautiful White Christmas, which has sold more sheet music than any other song in music history. But, there's another song from it which I think is equally as beautiful, even though it hasn't held up as well. They don't play it nearly as often. But, you're going to hear it now. You should recognize it. 

But first, I have some things to tell you about Irving Berlin. He met John Kennedy. It was in 1962 at the National Theater. Berlin's last musical, Mr. President, had premiered, and the President and First Lady were in attendance. Afterwards, they went backstage to congratulate the composer. 

Besides being a great songwriter, Irving Berlin was a great American. When he was drafted into World War 1, he was already the most famous and successful songwriter in the world, and he could have easily hired lawyers to get him out of it. But, he didn't. He willingly served. Thank God they weren't stupid enough to stick a rifle in his hands and dump in a trench in Belgium. If he had been killed, it would have been a humungous loss for the whole world of music. Instead, they had him do what he did best: write songs and put on shows for the troops. And, it was at that time that he wrote God Bless America.  For some reason, it didn't really take off until World War 2. But when it did, it took off like a rocket. It earned so much money, that Irving Berlin set up the God Bless America Foundation to direct all the royalties and income from that song to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. 

By World War 2, Irving Berlin was way too old to be drafted, but he volunteered anyway. He wasn't officially in the Army, but they gave him a uniform. And he did the same thing he did during the World War 1, except this time, he went out into the field- the war zones. Irving Berlin and his troupe went to Europe, to North Africa, even to New Guinea to put on shows. It was Irving Berlin who set the example for Bob Hope. 

Now for the song: It is: Happy Holiday. First released in 1942, it was originally sung by Bing Crosby. This is my rendition of it using my new Cannon camcorder. It's a sweet song.

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