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Playlist: Only In America: 300 Years of Jewish History

Compiled By: Daniel Eldridge

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ONLY IN AMERICA: Program 4. White Christmas: The Story of the Jews Who Created Tin Pan Alley & Hollywood, Part 1

From RadioArt(r) | Part of the ONLY IN AMERICA: 350 Years of the American Jewish Experience series | 58:21

Jewish immigrants like Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin reinvented American popular music

Oaprxlogo_small 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 ur-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. Philip Roth reads from his book, "Operation Shylock." Narrated and produced by Larry Josephson.