An icon of Tin Pan Alley, Irving Berlin was one of the most popular and beloved American songwriters of the first half of the 20th century. A co-founder of performance-rights organization ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), his hits included such ubiquitous tunes as "God Bless America" and "White Christmas." Written for Bing Crosby for the 1942 film Holiday Inn, the latter became the best-selling record in history. It's also the most-recorded Christmas tune of all time. Many of Berlin's songs were originally penned for stage musicals and films, often outlasting their popularity. Israel Beilin was born in the Russian Empire on May 11, 1888, and while his birthplace is unknown, his family immigrated from Tolochin (in latter-day Belarus) to New York City in 1893. At Ellis Island, the family's name was changed ...
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