Lee and Jacob Shubert's greatest invention was Al Jolson
(Asa Yoelson), a Lithuanian Jew who was a veteran of the minstrel show and the vaudeville.
Introduced by the Shuberts in La Belle Paree (1911),
his first recording was George Cohan's That Haunting Melody (1911).
He introduced Gus, the blackface character that he had developed during from
his years in minstrel shows, in The Whirl of Society (1912),
the first of many highly successful revues. He was as successful in selling
records, especially Lewis Muir's Ragging the Baby to Sleep (1912),
James Monaco's romantic ballad You Made Me Love You (1913),
Jean Schwartz's Back to the Carolina You Love (1914).
Robinson Crusoe Jr (1916) spawned George Meyer's Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night and
Pete Wendling's Yaacka Hula Hickey Dula.
At the peak of his fame, Jolson debuted at the "Winter Garden" the classic
trilogy of Gus:
Sinbad (1918), that spawned two hit songs,
Ray Henderson's Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody
and Walter Donaldson's My Mammy, Al Jolson's signature song,
Bombo (1921) and Big Boy (1924), including
Ray Henderson's It All Depends on You.
His hits, that always featured in his revues, included
Jean Schwartz's Hello Central Give Me No-Man's Land (1918), Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody (1918) and I'm All Bound 'Round With the Mason-Dixon Line (1919),
Walter Donaldson's My Mammy (1918),
Gus Kahn's I'll Say She Does (1918),
George Gershwin's Swanee (1919),
Vincent Rose's Avalon (1920),
Louis Silvers' April Showers (1921),
Abner Silver's Angel Child (1922),
Gus Kahn's Toot Toot Tootsie (1922),
Joseph Meyer's California Here I Come (1924),
Milton Ager's I Wonder What's Become Of Sally (1924),
John McCormack's All Alone (1925),
Ray Henderson's I'm Sitting on Top of the World (1925),
Harry Woods' When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along (1926).
Jolson appeared in Alan Crosland's The Jazz Singer (1927), the first major "talking" film and largely his own biography. Its follow-up, Lloyd Bacon's The Singing Fool (1928), that included Dave Dreyer's There's a Rainbow Round My Shoulder and Ray Henderson's Sonny Boy, remained the all-time best-seller of cinema for eleven years.
Henderson's Little Pal (1929) was his last major hit.
Starting in 1932, he became a radio entertainer.
Jolson had the unique honor of being a star in all forms of entertainment:
minstrel show, vaudeville, revue, record, cinema and radio.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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