Somebody slipped a letter under my door today, without an envelope. I read it a few times, couldn’t believe my eyes. Here are the relevant paragraphs, with my highlighting – please let me know what you make of it:
Dear Mrs. Blosser-Bernardo,
Thank you for your recent inquiry about Irving Berlin’s song name and lyrics. We are confident that this letter will provide the answers you have requested.
The original version of “God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin during the summer of 1918 for one of his Ziegfeld-style revues. However, Berlin decided that the solemn tone of “God Bless America” was somewhat out of keeping with the more comedic elements of the show and the song was laid aside.
In the fall of 1938, as war was again threatening Europe, Berlin decided to write a peace song. He recalled his “God Bless America” written earlier and made some alterations to reflect the different state of the world.
Berlin’s manuscripts and lyric sheets in our possession document his attention to detail. Without any doubt the name of the song has always been “God Bless America.”
Your claim that originally the song was named “God Blosser America” – after your paternal grandfather – is without merit. In my opinion, your expectations for substantial royalty checks would never be met, but, alas, I am not an expert in the matter.
In Terry Bernardo’s shoes, I wouldn’t give up. With Len’s help she might have a point. In fact, I almost remember a godblosseramerica heard in the historic 1938 broadcast, when Kate Smith introduced the song.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco