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Al Jolson Sings Hatikvah

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Joined: 22nd July 2007
Media: 1

Rare audio recording of Jewish Al Jolson singing what became the national anthem of the modern State of Israel: "The Hatikvah" ("The Hope"). Here is some biographic info on this showbiz legend: Al Jolson (May 26, 1886 - October 23, 1950) was a highly acclaimed American singer, comedian and actor of Jewish heritage whose career lasted from 1911 until his death in 1950. He was one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century. Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson in Seredzius, Lithuania. The exact date of his birth is unknown but it is believed to have been May 26, 1886. However, when Jolson sailed aboard the S.S. President Adams in 1925, he gave his date of birth as May 26, 1885 and his place of birth is regularly given on records as Washington, D.C. rather than in Lithuania. In his early childhood, his Jewish parents, Moshe Reuben Yoelson and Naomi Ettas Cantor, emigrated to the United States. The family name originally had been Hesselson. It was thought until recently that Al's father became the rabbi of the Talmud Torah Synagogue (now, Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah) in Washington, D.C., also secularly known as a cantor; however, Jolson in later years admitted that his father was really a slaughterer or "shochet" of kosher animals, as well as performing circumcisions or "bris" in the role of a "mohel". Young Asa became a popular singer in New York City as early as 1898, when he and his brother entertained troops during the Spanish American War. Adopting the stage name Al Jolson, he gradually developed the key elements of his performance: a somewhat operatic-like style of singing, exuberant physical mannerisms and gestures, bird-like whistling with the use of his fingers and hands, and directly addressing his audience. By 1911, he had parlayed a supporting appearance in the Broadway musical, La Belle Paree, into a starring role. He began recording and was soon internationally famous for his extraordinary stage presence and personal rapport with audiences. His Broadway career spanned close to 30 years (1911 - 1940). Audiences shouted, pleaded, and often would not allow the show to proceed; such was the power of Jolson's presence. At one performance in Boston, the audience stopped the show for 45 minutes. He was said to have had an "electric" personality, along with the ability to make each member of the audience believe that he was singing only for him or her. Among the many songs he popularized were "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)," "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," "Swanee" (songwriter George Gershwin's first success), "April Showers," "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye," "California, Here I Come," "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along," "Sonny Boy," and "Avalon." Jolson was the first musical artist to sell more than 10 million records. While no official Billboard magazine chart existed during his career, its staff archivist Joel Whitburn used a variety of sources, such as Talking Machine World's list of top-selling recordings and Billboard's own sheet music and vaudeville charts, to estimate the hits of 1890-1954. By his reckoning, Jolson had the equivalent of twenty-three No. 1 hits, the fourth-highest total ever, trailing only Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman, and Guy Lombardo. Whitburn calculates that Jolson would have topped one chart or another for 114 weeks.

Runtime: N/A
Size: 3.08MB
Added: 31st December 2007
Views: 5559

Category: audio
Tags: hatikvah jolson rare audio recording national anthem israel archive classic

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