published in 1921, music written by Louis Silvers and lyrics by B. G. De Sylva-
was a favoured tune of a past generation.
First performed in the Broadway musical Bombo by
legendary vaudeville, jazz, blues singer Al Jolson-
the song became a Jolson signature.
Al Jolson was an American stage/cinema actor and singer.
At the height of his career, he was called
“The World’s Greatest Entertainer”.
In the 1930s he was America’s most famous and highest-paid performer.
Widely remembered as starring in the first talking motion picture
The Jazz Singer, 1927-
he was first in other circumstances as well.
During World War II, he was the first celebrity
to entertain American soldiers overseas.
In 1950, he would repeat this generous action
as the first entertainer to perform for
military personnel during the Korean War.
His show schedule was ardurous, 42 performances in just 16 days.
He died a few weeks after returning to the United States
from the Korean War tour.
Al Jolson was later honored with the Medal of Merit,
which was given to his family by then Secretary of Defense George Marshall.
(image from newsday.com):
Al Jolson (1886 – 1950)
strikes his classic pose
He often performed in ‘blackface’ makeup-
a controversial theatrical tradition dating back to the mid-19th century.
Yet, from early on in his career, he was known to
actively champion the rights of Black performers on the Broadway stage
and for speaking out against discriminatory practices against
sings April Showers
Chicago Soldiers Field concert, 1949