Disc 4 – White Christmas

Only in American: The Story of American Jews

Disc 4 – White Christmas: The Jews Who Created Tin pan Alley and Hollywood, Part I

Irving Berlin (Israel Baline), the son of a cantor, arrived in New York speaking only Yiddish. After learning his trade as a song plugger on Tin Pan Alley, he eventually created the standards of American popular music including “Easter Parade,” “White Christmas” and “God Bless America.” George Gershwin (Jacob Gershowitz) and Harold Arlen (Hyman Arluck), also cantor’s sons, added jazz licks and blues riffs. Dr. Jack Gottlieb and John Lahr offer many musical examples to show the influence of Yiddish songs and synagogue music on the work of these classic American songwriters.

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