Irving Berlin sure knew how to turn a phrase.

Born in Russia in 1888, his family moved to New York City when Irving was five.  He started writing and selling his little ditties when he was a teenager, honing his craft while listening to the immigrant sounds of the teeming Lower East Side of New York.  Berlin struck gold early in his career.  At age 22 he wrote "Alexander's Ragtime Band" which would become an instant worldwide hit.

Among Irving Berlin's enduring songs are "White Christmas," "Easter Parade, "Happy Holiday," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Blue Skies," "Always," and many more.

Berlin's most famous tribute to his adopted country came in the form of "God Bless America."  Almost always sung by the legendary Kate Smith (who introduced it on her radio show on Armistice Day, 1938) Berlin himself would once in a while attempt to perform his own song.

Possessing a thin, reedy voice (unlike the bombastic grandeur of Smith) Irving Berlin sang :God Bless America" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1968 to celebrate his 80th birthday.  You will notice his is backed by a choir of boy and girl scouts.

Recognizing they had a super hit on their hands both artists donated their royalties to these groups.  Irving Berlin gave his money to the Boy Scouts.  Singer Kate Smith donated her performance royalties to the Girl Scouts.

Both groups have made millions of dollars off of this song.

My 4th of July gift to all of yo is this rare video from 1968.  Enjoy!