Irving Berlin

Puttin' on the Ritz: Capitol Sings Irving Berlin

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The songs of Irving Berlin are I-beams in the towering edifice of 20th century popular music. This sampler of predominately pop recordings from the Capitol catalog may serve as both a grab bag of enjoyable entertainments and a useful introduction to some of this composer's nicest tunes. Each of the 25 tracks perfectly illustrates the essence of a given song, and would be especially useful for anyone seeking to learn the rudimentary contours. Jazz is only marginally represented here, in spite of the fact that jazz grew up on Irving Berlin's often jazz-inspired melodies, many of which survive today primarily as jazz standards. Certainly jazz is manifested in Nat King Cole (with both trio and big band), Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mercer and bandleaders Red Norvo and Billy May. Several ex-big-band singers are in the mix, including Peggy Lee and Kay Starr. Jo Stafford sings like an angel, Dinah Shore's gentle rendering of "The Song Is Ended" comes across as a marvel of sensitivity, and Betty Hutton's handling of "Blue Skies" is among her prettiest performances on record. The timeline represented here (1944-1963) almost exactly traces the golden age of the post-WWII, pre-Beatles star pop vocalists. The core sample contains measurable amounts of Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Margaret Whiting, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Gordon MacRae, Dick Haymes and Vic Damone, as well as pearly white group vocals by the Starlighters, the Crew Chiefs, the Pied Pipers and the Four Freshmen.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 1:11 Amazon
feat: Judy Garland
1:49 Amazon
feat: Vic Damone
2:02 Amazon
feat: Dinah Shore
3:19 Amazon
5 2:33 Amazon
feat: Dick Haymes
2:32 Amazon
7 2:31 Amazon
8 3:03 Amazon
feat: Bobby Darin
3:09 Amazon
feat: Nancy Wilson
4:41 Amazon
11 2:29 Amazon
feat: Kay Starr
3:25 Amazon
feat: Andy Russell
3:08 Amazon
14 2:32 Amazon
feat: Peggy Lee
2:46 Amazon
16 2:39 Amazon
feat: Betty Hutton
2:52 Amazon
feat: Dick Haymes
3:23 Amazon
19 2:26 Amazon
feat: Sue Raney
3:29 Amazon
feat: Vic Damone
2:28 Amazon
feat: Dean Martin
2:43 Amazon
feat: Jo Stafford
3:02 Amazon
24 2:33 Amazon
25 2:44 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick