The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5462   Message #762006
Posted By: Genie
08-Aug-02 - 02:05 PM
Thread Name: Origins: America, The Beautiful
Subject: RE: America, The Beautiful
Kaleea, "Oiving" Berlin actually signed over all royalties to "GBA" to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts when (or shortly after) he introduced the song, via Kate Smith, in 1938. The song was so popular in WWII that there was a large movement to replace "SSB" with "GBA" as the national anthem. Berlin's reply was that we already had a national anthem and did not need two.

He actually wrote the song in WWI, not long after he became a naturalized US citizen, and about the same time he got drafted, but was persuaded by a business associate not to publish it at the time, since "patriotic" songs were kind of a dime a dozen during the WWI hype. It was Hitler's actions in Europe in the mid 1930's that prompted Berlin to write a patriotic song then (note the verse to GBA), but it is said that he could not write oner he liked as much as GBA, so he tweaked a lyric or two and gave it to Kate Smith to sing on Armistice Day (now Veterans' Day) 1938. He did not want this song to be a commercial activity for him or his family. (cf. the threads on "God Bless America" and "Patriotic Songs" and "national anthem.")