This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
THE BEST OF EDDIE HUBBARD: "EDDIE & GREAT AMERICAN SONGWRITERS - IRVING BERLIN"
Eddie Hubbard's series on Great American Songwriters continues once more with a tribute to Irving Berlin. Eddie plays some of Berlin's great hits like "The Girl That I Marry," "Always," "Remember," "Easter Parade," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "How Deep Is the Ocean," and "Say It with Music." Artists include Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Tony Martin and Fran Warren, Howard Keel, jazz pianist Lou Stein, Ethyl Merman, and Eydie Gorme.
Eddie plays the recordings of Al Jolson singing "I'm Happy," during a tribute event in Berlin's honor and of Irving explaining how he first wrote a song called "Smile and Show Your Dimple" that he turned into "Easter Parade," Poignant is his first ballad "When I Lost You,' which Berlin wrote after his first wife Dorothy passed away shortly after their honeymoon. And Eddie adds a tune that Berlin referred to as one of his own top ten songs, "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me."
Throughout the show Eddie plays background music featuring Berlin's "Together," and the tribute concludes with "The Song Is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On," which speaks of Berlin's legacy of songs that undoubtedly will linger forever in the Great American Songbook. Who could forget songs that could have extended Eddie's show easily for another hour, such as "White Christmas," "Puttin' On the Ritz," ""Blue Skies," "God Bless America," "Cheek to Cheek," "I've Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night," "it's a Lovely Day Today," and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody."
Berlin often pointed out that he wrote far more songs that did not become hits, such as "I've Got to Go Back to Texas" and "Jake, Jake, the Yidissher Ball Player." But, as "NY Times" reporter Marilyn Berger observed in Berlin's obituary in 1989, "According to Ascap records, 25 Berlin songs reached the top of the charts. By the time he was 30 he was a legend, and he went on to write the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films.
"Throughout his long life in the world of music he never learned to play in any key but F sharp, but he could tap out tune after tune on the keys of a piano, leaving it to arrangers to write the harmony and to transcribe his melodies. His songs were by turn romantic and tragic, feisty and sentimental, homespun and sophisticated.
‘’’I really can't read music,' Mr. Berlin once said. 'Oh, I can pick out the melody of a song with one finger, but I can't read the harmony. I feel like an awful dope that I know so little about the mechanics of my trade.' To overcome his inability to play in any key but F sharp, he used a specially built piano that had a hand clutch to change keys. He called it his ''Buick'' and for years he took it with him on trips to Europe. It is now in the Smithsonian Institution.
“’My ambition is to reach the heart of the average American ... Not the highbrow nor the lowbrow but that vast intermediate crew which is the real soul of the country. The highbrow is likely to be superficial, overtrained, supersensitive … My public is the real people.'"
"Morton Gould, the president of Ascap, said …'Irving Berlin's music will last forever,' he said. ''Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always.'"