by Irving Berlin (1912)
Fleischer Studios (1926)
“Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music”— Jerome Kern
in 1911, Berlin hit upon the musical composition that catapulted him into legend: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” A jaunty tip of the hat to the ragtime craze (although not technically of the ragtime genre) the song reached the larger public in several stages: first as a vaudeville number premiered in Chicago by Emma Carus; then as a performance by Berlin at the Friars Frolic of 1911; then increasingly “covered” by performers in vaudeville and early gramophone recordings. It set a new record by becoming the fastest selling song of its time, moving a million copies of sheet music within four months; by 1912, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” had sold over two million copies of sheet music and subsequently a million more. It was the most ubiquitous song of its era and had become a cornerstone of the music publishing industry.
Read more about Irving Berlin here: https://www.irvingberlin.com/early-career-and-tin-pan-alley