Yes, it took two iconic American music masters, Kate Smith and Irving Berlin to produce America’s number one patriotic song, “God Bless America.”
Smith, the nation’s No. 1 songstress in 1940, dreamed about finding a highly patriotic song in the days before the country’s entry into World War II. Finally, she contacted Irving Berlin and asked him to write such a song. He replied: “I have one,” and pulled the 22-year-old, unpublished “God Bless America” from his files.
Smith loved it and immediately sang it everywhere, as it became a hit. “God Bless America” remains a standard occasion priority 75 years later.
Smith, because of her “plus size” might not have been a huge star in today’s television-oriented world. But in 1940, when radio was king, she dominated the airways.
According to Frank Sinatra, Smith was “the best singer of her time,” and she was patriotic to the core.
Smith and Berlin agreed not to take any profits from “God Bless America.” Instead, they channeled the profits to the Boy Scouts, and later the Girl Scouts. It is estimated that the two youth organizations have received several million dollars in royalties from the song.