Irving Berlin (born May 11, 1888) is one of the most iconic and celebrated songwriters in American history. He wrote some of the most well-known and popular songs in the early 20th century, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.” He was born in Russia in 1888, and his family moved to the United States when he was five years old. He began writing songs as a teenager, and his first hit was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in 1911. Berlin wrote hundreds of songs, including some of the most popular and well-known tunes in American history. He was inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame in 1988 and Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. His music continues to be enjoyed by audiences around the world, and that’s why most of his tracks have been featured in countless films and stage productions, and his legacy is firmly cemented as one of the most important songwriters in American history. Here are ten of his best songs:
10. What’ll I Do? (1924)
“What’ll I Do?” was written by Irving Berlin in 1924. The song is a ballad about a heartbroken man after his lover’s abandonment. He reflects on the happy times they shared and wonders what he will do without her. Numerous artists have covered the song over the years, and it remains one of Berlin’s most popular ballads. If you’re feeling down and need a dose of heartwarming melancholy, then you should check out “What’ll I Do?”
9. A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody (1919)
“A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” was written by Irving Berlin in 1919. The song is a waltz about a man falling in love with a beautiful woman. He reflects on the many wonderful things about her and marvels at the beauty of her voice. It’s a song you will hear as covers from numerous artists. The piece brings out a jazz feeling that gives the listener a sense of what it feels like to be in love.
8. Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning (1918)
For those days when you don’t want to get out of bed, there’s Irving Berlin’s “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.” The song was written in 1918 and reflected the struggles of everyday life. The song’s protagonist hates getting up early in the morning, but he soldiers on through each day. It’s a piece you will enjoy listening to from beginning to end. You will love the jazzy feel that Irving Berlin brings to the table. The best part is that you can listen to it on any day you feel like staying in bed.
7. Puttin’ on the Ritz (1930)
When you want to feel fancy, there’s no better song than Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The song is about a man who wants to dress up and show. He sings about all of the wonderful things he will do when he’s dressed up in his finest clothes. The song’s rhythm is infectious, and it’s no wonder that it has become one of Berlin’s most popular tunes. The melody and the lyrics in this song are timeless and classic, making it a must-listen on any list of Irving Berlin songs.
6. Blue Skies (1927)
Whenever you need a ray of sunshine, there’s Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” It is a classic piece that talks about looking on the bright side of life and dreaming of a better future. It has been featured in countless films and stage productions over the years, and its optimistic message is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Today, this song is considered a jazz standard and a track you can play in any setting.
5. God Bless America (1939)
One thing is for sure: Irving Berlin’s music has withstood the test of time. “God Bless America” is one of his most iconic and well-known songs, and it continues to be popular today. The song was originally written in 1918, but it didn’t become widely known until Kate Smith started singing it on her radio show in 1939. “God Bless America” has been sung at patriotic events ever since, and it’s considered an unofficial national anthem. It’s a piece you will hear getting played a lot at Karaokes and other events.
4. Always (1926)
“Always” is another one of Irving Berlin’s classic love songs. The song was written for the movie “Wedding Night” and was first performed by George Olsen and Fran Frey. It quickly became a hit and has been recorded by dozens of artists over the years. “Always” is a beautiful ballad that speaks to the enduring power of love. It’s a piece that screams classic Hollywood romance.
3. Cheek to Cheek (1935)
Irving Berlin’s 1935 song “Cheek to Cheek” is one of his most famous and well-loved tunes. The song was originally performed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the movie “Top Hat,” and it quickly became a hit. “Cheek to Cheek” is a fun, up-tempo number that showcases Astaire and Rogers’s impressive dancing skills. Everything about this song is catchy—from the melody to the lyrics.
2. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1911)
“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” is one of his earliest hits; it was a huge success, and it helped to popularize ragtime music. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” is a fast-paced number that features a memorable melody and catchy lyrics. The track has a flavor of old-time New York City, and it’s still a favorite among jazz fans today. You can expect to hear it played at many weddings and other events.
1. White Christmas (1942)
“White Christmas” is one of his most famous and well-loved compositions. The song was originally recorded by Bing Crosby and has been covered by dozens of artists over the years. “White Christmas” is a sentimental ballad that speaks to the nostalgia of Christmases past. The song has become an iconic part of holiday culture, and it’s often played at Christmastime.
Millions of people have enjoyed Irving Berlin’s music over the years. His songs are timeless, and they continue to be popular today. Whether you’re a fan of traditional jazz or classic Hollywood romance, there’s something for everyone in Irving Berlin’s songbook. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the best music that Irving Berlin has to offer.