Popular English composer Harry Dacre wrote “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” in 1892 after being forced to pay an import duty on his bicycle while entering the United States. One of his friends remarked: "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty." Dacre loved the sound of "bicycle built for two" so much, he had to use it in a song.
The 1926 popular song “The Red Red Robin Goes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along” was written by songwriter Harry M. Woods. Though he originally heard it sung by his friend Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson took this song to the top of the charts.
"Blue Skies" by Irving Berlin was the breakout hit from the otherwise unremarkable musical Betsy , which only ran for 39 performances. Audiences on opening night demanding two encores of the song from star Belle Baker, though she forgot her lyrics during the second reprise and Irving Berlin sang them from his seat in the front row. It was also one of the first songs to be featured in the pioneering Hollywood talkie The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. According to Sophie Tucker, she sang it first in Chicago in her show called LeMaire’s Affairs. Here is another great version done by Frank Sinatra.
This recording of Sophie singing “Blue Skies” comes from a Radio Hall of Fame show honoring Tucker on April 30, 1944.
“Shine On, Harvest Moon” is the name of a popular early-1900’s song credited to the husband and wife Vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth, which they debuted in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. During the Vaudeville era, songs were often sold outright and the purchaser would become the songwriter of record. The real songwriter was either the team of Edward Madden and Gus Edwards or Dave Stamper, who contributed songs to twenty-one editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and was Bayes' pianist from 1903 to 1908. Whoever wrote it, Sophie claimed she sang it to Nora first. This version is from the 1939 Laurel and Hardy movie Flying Deuces.
Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, "God Bless America" is commonly sung during the seventh-inning stretch in Major League Baseball games, in other sporting events during halftime or between periods, and during the intermissions of similar events. It was just as popular in World War I and II, and every other conflict since. Many people don’t know that it was Irving Berlin who wrote this patriotic tune in 1918.