Read As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin by Laurence Bergreen Online


Irving Berlin (1888–1989) was unable to read or write music and could only play the piano in the key of F-sharp major; yet, for the first half of the twentieth century he was America's most successful and most representative songwriter, composing such hits as "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Cheek to Cheek," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "White ChrisIrving Berlin (1888–1989) was unable to read or write music and could only play the piano in the key of F-sharp major; yet, for the first half of the twentieth century he was America's most successful and most representative songwriter, composing such hits as "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Cheek to Cheek," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "White Christmas," "Anything You Can Do," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and "God Bless America." As Thousands Cheer, winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, explores with precision and sensitivity Berlin's long, prolific career; his self-doubt and late-blooming misanthropy; and the tyrannical control he exerted over his legacy of song. From his immigrant beginnings through Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood to his reclusive and bitter final years, this definitive biography reveals the man who wrote 1500 songs but could never quash the fear that, for all his success, he wasn't quite good enough....

Title : As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin
Author :
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ISBN : 9780306806759
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 702 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin Reviews

  • Julian
    2019-03-03 19:03

    Irving Berlin was really the start of what became known as the Golden Age of Songwriting that probably ended with Stephen Sondheim. The real McCoys who hated approximate or false rhyming, who really matched words perfectly to music, who had something to say, and who left us tunes that Ella and Frank delivered to make the hairs on your neck stand up. Irving Berlin kicked off the line that included the Gershwins, Kern, Rodgers, Hammerstein, Porter , Loesser, Warren, Van Heusen, Cahn, Arlen, Mercer, Carmichael and so many more. Why were the Beatles so great? Because they mixed rock and soul with these great songwriters' understanding of melody, rhythm and good words.How Berlin, a Russian immigrant, born to hardship, acquired such phenomenal melodic and lyrical ability is one of those great artistic miracles of nature. He was just a natural. Not much of a pianist (they say he only played in F# but he must have touched the white notes such is his chromatic awareness), not much of a singer, definitely a songwriting genius. What songs: White Christmas, Top Hat, Cheek to Cheek, Let's Face The Music and Dance, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Change Partners, Easter Parade, How Deep Is The Ocean, Blue Skies, Puttin' On The Ritz, the score of Annie Get Your Gun, the score of Call Me Madam...I could list his songs of note for ages.I loved this brilliant biography. Laurence Bergreen is a superb writer who made me feel I really knew Berlin. He writes with real insight into Irving's early life, his two marriages, his business skill, his wartime efforts and his passing.A great read on a great musical icon.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-20 00:08

    I was more than halfway through the biography of this American icon before I realized what was wrong with it. It wasn't the writing style, which in fact is terrific. It wasn't the depth of the research or the range of source materials, both of which are admirable. It wasn't even the hard-to-read typeface and horrible-quality photos of the Da Capo trade-paperback edition. What was wrong with As Thousands Cheer was that Laurence Bergreen had written for hundreds and hundreds of pages about Irving Berlin without once quoting his lyrics. This seems not to have been the author's choice: the book's final paragraph speaks of the "iron grip" that Berlin held on song rights both in life and in death.If Bergreen had been able to illustrate his observations with individual song lines or--better yet--full sets of lyrics, I would have awarded his book at least four stars. In its hobbled state, three is as high as it's going to go.

  • Bernice
    2019-02-25 23:07

    Very detailed account of Irving Berlin's life. It was interesting and contained a lot of information about the theatre and the men and women who were on the stage and behind it. Very intense. There were inportant facts in each sentence. But I like the theatre and I like to read about the people who were artists and stars.

  • Rita
    2019-03-10 17:12

    Irving Berlin is my hero. I pick up this book every once-in-a-while. It is written with love and knowledge of Berlin.

  • Don
    2019-03-09 22:58

    "Irving Berlin has no place in American music; he IS American music." That oft quoted statement by Jerome Kern captures how much of the world felt about this remarkable man who made such an incredible contribution to our musical landscape. If you decide to read a Berlin biography, this one is well worth your consideration. As I read, I kept thinking that an alternate title for this book might have been "Irving Berlin and his World." The composer lived for 101 years and so there is a lot of time to cover. For most of the book, I felt like I was in a time capsule as we visited the decades in which Mr. Berlin was born, grew up and thrived. There is less attention to that sort of detail during the final few chapters, but that makes sense given that Berlin in many ways cut himself off from the world at that point in his life. Berlin was a complex and not always very likable man. The author does a good job of helping us to understand the factors which shaped his personality. While I must admit that the last chapter or two contain too many examples of just how incredibly rude and arrogant he could be during his later years, Bergreen's words have the ring of truth about them, largely because his portrayal is not in any way simplistic. If you love the American musical as much as I do, this book is a must. Even if you don't, you may find that this well conceived biography is well worth your consideration.

  • Gabrielle
    2019-02-21 17:09

    Good book, just very long. This is a very detailed account of Berlin's life and not much to question about the accuracy. The story runs along smoothly in chronological order without becoming tedious. There are a few sections that seemed to repeat, but overall a good read.

  • Scott Fuchs
    2019-03-17 23:07

    One. of a handful. of the most brilliantly written biographies I have read

  • Jim
    2019-02-24 20:10

    A very well written bio.

  • Janice
    2019-02-18 17:09

    Having sung a lot of Irving Berlin's songs, I was curious about his life. This book is VERY comprehensive, more comprehensive than I needed but I still enjoyed it. It was obviously very well researched.