American composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, who was considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history, was born in Imperial Russia. The composer of hits like White Christmas, Blue Skies, Puttin’ On the Ritz, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Cheek to Cheek, and God Bless America, arrived in New York City with his Jewish family at age five escaping discrimination, poverty and brutal pogroms.

Berlin never learned to read music, but played his songs entirely by ear in the key of F-sharp (keeping all five notes of the pentatonic scale on the “black keys”) WATCH him demonstrate the unusual piano that helped him learn this, playing one of his humorous love songs… (1888)

Interviewing him are Dinah Shore and Tony Martin…

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Minnesota (a native Dakota word, meaning ‘clear blue water’) was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state, calling itself The Land of 10,000 Lakes and being among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation (1858)
  • Andrew Carnegie donated $1.5 million to build the Peace Palace, near the Hague and home to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, peace library and grounds (1904)
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded, with the goal of advancing the arts and sciences of movies, by funding student scholarships, maintaining film libraries, and celebrating its annual “Oscar” awards (1927)
  • Charges were dismissed against Daniel Ellsberg for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the press, with the government citing misconduct (1973)
  • The rock group Queen wrapped up their 46-date ‘News Of The World’ tour playing the first of three sold-out nights at Wembley arena in London (1978)
  • More than 170 countries decided to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions (1995)

And, on this day in 1910, the U.S. Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana.

Glacier National Park-MountainWalrus-CC
Photo by MountainWalrus – CC license

Along the Canadian border, the park encompasses over 1 million acres, two mountain ranges, 130 lakes, more than 1,000 different plants, and hundreds of animal species, including the threatened grizzly bear and Canadian lynx.

Also, Happy 78th Birthday to Eric Burdon, the lead singer of The Animals who sang ‘House of the Rising Sun‘.

Photo by MitchD50, CC

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee also sang on ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ and ‘We Got to Get Out of the Place’. Burdon has often toured in the last decade and is set to make an emotional return to Newcastle with The Animals this autumn –the English city where the band formed in 1963, before becoming part of the British Invasion that took America by storm. Burdon also joined the band WAR to help create such hits as ‘Spill the Wine’, ‘Paint it Black’, and ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ (1941)  

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