Everybody step

Everybody step

Irving Berlin, circa 1906. You can tell it’s a posed shot because he has about seven or eight more fingers on the keys than he actually used.

The Syncopated Times has published this article detailing how syncopation conquered the Broadway stage in and around 1920, giving birth to what’s now called the “American popular songbook” of show tunes, and describing the early careers of Irving Berlin (look at that boychik!), Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin. This is the longest piece I’ve ever had published, and I hope you’ll find it thoroughly entertaining and informative. The online version also includes a nifty playlist of links to vintage recordings of the songs name-dropped in the piece. Let me know what you think!

Here are links to my previous Syncopated Times pieces:

In 1920 Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues paved the way for Black Music (March 2020)

Teddy Wilson: American Jazz Hero (May 2019)

The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville (book review, April 2019)