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Orgin of song "God bless America"
Do you remember Kate Smith?
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best
singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard
her sing "God Bless America" on the radio, they all pretended to have
dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.
Here are the facts...
The link at the bottom will take you to a video
showing the very first public singing of "GOD BLESS AMERICA".
But before you watch it, you should also know the story behind the first public
showing of the song.
The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible
economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe
and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and
worry for most Americans.
This was the era just before TV, when radio shows
were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings,
listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was
bigger than Kate Smith.
Kate was also large; plus size, as we now say,
and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, "It ain't
over till the fat lady sings". Kate Smith might not have made it big in
the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest
star of her time.
Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see
Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had
hope for America,
and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up,
so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote
"White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make
Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what
she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her.
He went to his files and found a song that he had
written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917. He gave it to
and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin
were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed
they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to
the Boy Scouts of America.
Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties
from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into
the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new
song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple
verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from
the 1940 movie, "You're In The Army Now." At the 4:20 mark of
the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a
paper; it's Ronald Reagan.
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic
feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went
looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt
whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow
Americans during those years of hardship and worry..... and for many
generations of Americans to follow. Now that you know the story of the
song, I hope you'll enjoy it and treasure it even more.
Many people don't know there's a lead in to the song since it
usually starts with "God Bless America....." So here's the
entire song as originally sung.
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Aloha Don,

Wow, that one sure brings back some great memories of sitting around the floor and listening to the radio shows with my parents and sisters. I really looked forward to "The Shadow" and a couple of the other radio programs at the time. Used to be in bed by 8ap and up at 6am for breakfast around the table (not in front of a tv or computer like the kids now). Ah them were the days! Kids nowadays think they have it all and maybe they do BUT they sure don't appreciate it more than e did.

Thanks for these memories.

Aloha and yes, God Bless America for we surely need HIS help now.

Stan aka Kaimi

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