Irving Berlin wrote some 1,500 songs, even though he could play piano in only one key and never learned to read music or transcribe it.
Rose Marie Riley presented a program about Berlin at Mondays Unity Club meeting at Calvary Methodist Church. She reviewed two books, Irving Berlin: American Troubadour by Edward Jablonski and Irving Berlin: A Daughters Memoir by Mary Ellin Barrett.
Berlin was born in czarist Russia in 1888. His family immigrated to America in 1893 and settled in a tenement on New Yorks Lower East Side. He ran away from home at 13 and worked by singing in disreputable Bowery bars. He was signed as a song plugger and lyricist for a Tin Pan Alley music publisher.