Irving Berlin: selected songs of 1916-1919


Most of the images for “The Century Girl” need editing.



The Century Girl

Above: Members of the cast of The Century Girl (1916) in costume for the Irving Berlin number Alice in Wonderland. The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin names some of the cards: Lilyan Tashman (King of Hearts), Marion Fairbanks (Jack of Diamonds), and Madeleine Fairbanks (Jack of Clubs).

“The Century Girls,” photograph by White Studio

Hazel Dawn, The Century Girl, 1916, signed

(above, left) Hazel Dawn, signed; right: Leon Errol and Gertrude Rutland, by White Studio

(above) Two copies of a Raphael Kirchner sketch for The Century Girl

The Chicken Walk (Irving Berlin) from the Broadway revue The Century Girl which opened at the Century Theatre, New York, 6 November, 1916. It closed on 28 April 1917 after 200 performances. I may do a small feature on the revue as there are a number of photographs of cast members in costume and a few fine illustrations by Raphael Kirchner available. Despite the great length of the show, reportedly lasting four and a half hours on opening night, Berlin hadn’t written many songs for it. In fact IBDb lists only 16 songs in the program, which doesn’t seem excessive. Perhaps it was extended by the time required to prepare elaborate sets and ensembles between songs.

Victor Herbert, who composed songs for the show with lyrics by Henry Blossom, contributed seven songs, Berlin six, to the production. The three remaining songs were contributed by other songwriters. The Chicken Walk might have been the only song of Berlin’s from the revue recorded. I haven’t found recordings of any of the others songs in the show yet. Will post them if I do.

Irving Kaufman – 1916


The Six Brown Brothers – 1916


From The Levy Sheet Music Collection at JScholarship This is page 2, or the side opposite the cover. The cover isn't displayed at the link given above. The title is misspelled.

I’ve Gotta Go Back to Texas — According to The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, Eds. Kimball and Emmet, 2001, p. 117, the song was copyrighted on 17 January 1916, and was “added to the show Watch Your Step (1914) during the post Broadway tour, where it was introduced by Bernard Granville.”

Charles King and Elizabeth Brice, 1916


I’m Down In Honolulu Looking Them Over — copyrighted 25 October 1916

Max Kortlander — Autograph 100513 piano roll (presumably made c. 1916) — The video provider gives an incorrect title. The roll itself bears the correct title, “I’m Down in Honolulu Looking Them Over.”


Al Jolson with the Charles A. Prince Orchestra — recorded on 19 September 1916, Columbia matrix #47030




From Here to Shanghai

From The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, p. 152:

Published. Copyrighted January 23, 1917. Probably written in December 1916, as Al Jolson’s recording…was made on December 11, 1916.

Pete Wendling – QRS Autograph Hand Played roll #10057; date unknown

artist links:


Gene Greene and the Peerless Quartet —  Recorded 30 January 1917, issued as Victor 18242, b/w Napoleon, recorded by Billy Murray


I’ll Take You Back to Italyfrom the 1917 musical Jack O’ Lantern

Ada Jones and Billy Murray — recorded on 24 January 1918; issued in Aril 1918 on Victor 18436




Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning

Arthur Fields, 1919


I’m Gonna Pin a Medal On the Girl I Left Behind — copyrighted 2 July 1918

From The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, p. 160

Introduced by Frank Carter (a Private) with Gus Minton (a General), Martha Mansfield (the Girl I Left Behind) and male ensemble in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 (New Amsterdam Theatre; June 18, 1918; 151 performances). Leading recording by the Peerless Quartet in 1918 (Victor). Alternate title: “I’ll Pin My Medal On the Girl I Left Behind.”

Peerless Quartet — issued in 1918 on Victor 18486


Fred Van Eps Quartette — recorded c. August 1918; issued in 1918 on OKeh 1099


Pete Wendling — “Ziegfeld Follies 1918 Medley” on piano roll QRS 90180, presumably released in 1918

The video provider says:

Played by Pete Wendling QRS # 90180 — Intro.- 1. I’m Gonna Pin A Medal On The Girl I Left Behind; 2. Garden Of Dreams; 3. When I Hear A Syncopated Tune; 4. Any Old Time At All; 5. I Want To Learn To Jazz Dance; 6. I’m Gonna Pin A Medal On The Girl I Left Behind


Smile and Show Your Dimple – In 1933 Berlin borrowed part of the melody of the chorus from this song for his much better-known song “Easter Parade.”

Sam Ash – 1918



Nobody Knows (And Nobody Seems to Care)

Esther Walker – recorded in July 1919, according to the video provider


Irving and Jack Kaufman — recorded c. August 1919; issued on the 78 rpm single Columbia A-2795


1919 I'm the Guy Who Guards the Harem (Irving Berlin)

I’m the Guy Who Guards the Harem (And My Heart’s in My Work) — copyrighted 30 September 1919; introduced by Johnny Dooley in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919

Gregory Jbara with orchestra directed by Lanny Meyers — from the album Unsung Berlin, released in 1995



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Doug Capra
    Jun 10, 2017 @ 14:13:57

    I’m trying to find a photo of one of the women in The Century Girl (1916) — Hilda Hirsch. She played the Ten of Hearts; a turtle, one of the foxes, and a schoolgirl. An ideas? I might be able to recognize her from other photos. Are there any more photos of the show that you know of?



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