Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words for VETERANS DAY: KATE SMITH

KATE SMITH [May 1, 1907-June 17, 1986] will be forever remembered for singing one song, a super patriotic one, Irving Berlin’s God Bless America. Not that she never sang any other song, not by a long shot. But of the 600+ songs she introduced on stage, radio, records and television, it is God Bless America that endures. Twenty of her records sold over a million, including GBA, There Goes That Song Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, and When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain (her theme song). Her popular radio program, The Kate Smith Hour, launched the career of Abbott & Costello. In 1982, The First Lady of Popular Song received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. It was for a lifetime of service to the United States of America, particularly during World War II, when the great Kate used her singing, talking and spirit to sell $600 million in Defense Bonds. That is a huge amount now, but thinking of it in 1940's reference is overwhelmingly awesome. Thanks to the impact of Kate Smith, there have been serious proposals to replace The Star Spangled Banner with God Bless America as our National Anthem.
IN THIS RARELY SEEN press photo, Kate signs autographs for admiring soldiers on leave during WWII. No doubt each of them knew the lyrics to God Bless America by heart. [from Steve Crum’s showbiz memorabilia collection]
Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Smith sings a medley of her hits, including God Bless America:

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