The song of the day for Tuesday, May 11, 2021, is “Cheek To Cheek.”
Israel Berlin, later known as Irving Berlin, was born in Tolochin, Russian Empire on May 11, 1888. His family emigrated to the United States when he was only five years old. He is widely considered on the great songwriters in American history, with his tremendous contributions to both film and stage productions. Berlin lived to be 101 years old, dying on September 22, 1989.
About This Song
“Cheek To Cheek” was written by Irving Berlin for the 1935 film Top Hat, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, where it was introduced (beautifully) by Fred Astaire. Though the song was nominated for an Academy Award (it lost to “Lullaby Of Broadway”), it became a hit in 1935 and has remained popular to this day. Significant recordings include those by Harry James, Glenn Miller, Roy Eldridge, Bing Crosby and many, many more. Fans of the Tom Hanks’ movie The Green Mile might remember this song, as Top Hat is viewed in the prison. For many, it is one of the very first songs that comes to mind when one thinks of Fred Astaire and the 1930s Hollywood musical.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded “Cheek To Cheek” for their 2014 album Cheek To Cheek. The wonderful Marion Evans wrote the arrangement.
“Cheek To Cheek,” as well as the album Cheek To Cheek, is available from Apple Music.
About Irving Berlin’s Piano
Berlin was a self-taught pianist who preferred to play on the black keys and played only in F#. He composed on a transposing upright piano, his first one was made in 1909. In 1940, another was made for him by Weser Brothers in New York. He only needed to adjust the transposing mechanism to change the key.The 1940 piano resides in the Smithsonian Museum. This video shows Berlin demonstrating the transposing feature to Dinah Shore and Tony Martin.