Born Israel Baline in New York in 1888, Berlin was a prolific songwriter, penning some of the most well-known songs ever, from White Christmas to Blue Skies and God Bless America.
While a lot of his songs lyrics were saccharine-sweet, being written for shows, they were all clever and often deceptively simple. My favourite Irving Berlin songs are the ones where he lets a tinge of sadness or regret into them (What’ll I Do? is an example of a both a seemingly simple lyric and real, poignant emotion).
With A Song In Your Heart
(OK, that was Rogers and Hart, but let’s not pick nits)
Write a story inspired by a song. I’m going to suggest this verse (that’s the bit they usually don’t tack onto popular recordings of standards) from the Irving Berlin song Remember:
One little kiss,
A moment of bliss,
Then hours of deep regret.
One little smile,
And after a while,
A longing to forget.
One little heratache
Left as a token,
One little plaything,
But you can pick another lyric if you want to.