About a year ago the following article appeared in the New York Times, a newspaper that has never been accused of anti-Semitism, and whose proprietor is one of the best-known Jews in the United States:
“Irving Berlin, Leo Feist and other officers of seven music publishing corporations in this city were charged with violating the Sherman anti-trust law in an equity suit begun yesterday in Federal District Court by the United States Government. The defendants, it was alleged, controlled 80 per cent of the available copyrighted songs used by manufacturers of phonographs, player piano rolls and other musical reproducing instruments, and fixed prices at which the records or rolls were to be sold to the public . . . .
“The corporations involved in the action were the Consolidated Music Corporation, 144 West Thirty-seventh street; Irving Berlin, Inc., 1567 Broadway; Leo Feist, Inc., 231 West Fortieth street; T. B. Harms, Francis, Day and Hunter, Inc., 62 West Forty-fifth street; Shapiro, Bernstein & Company, 218 West Forty-seventh street; Watterson, Berlin & Snyder, Inc., 1571 Broadway, and M. Witmark & Sons, Inc., 144 West Thirty-seventh street.
“The agreement which the government seeks to dissolve is alleged to provide that the defendant would make contracts only through the Consolidated Music Corporation which they had organized . . . .”
Many people have wondered whence come the waves upon waves of musical slush that invade decent parlors and set the young people of this generation imitating the drivel of morons. A clue to the answer is in the above clipping. Popular Music is a Jewish monopoly. Jazz is a Jewish creation. The mush, the slush, the sly suggestion, the abandoned sensuousness of sliding notes, are of Jewish origin.
Monkey talk, jungle squeals, grunts and squeaks and gasps suggestive of cave love are camouflaged by a few feverish notes and admitted to homes where the thing itself, unaided by the piano, would be stamped out in horror. Girls and boys a little while ago were inquiring who paid Mrs. Rip Van Winkleís rent while Mr. Rip Van Winkle was away. In decent parlors the fluttering music sheets disclosed expressions taken directly from the cesspools of modern capitals, to be made the daily slang, the thoughtlessly hummed remarks of high school boys and girls.
The United States Government alleged, in the above complaint, that 80 per cent of these popular songs was under the control of the seven Jewish houses named above; and the other 20 per cent controlled by other Jewish music houses not included in that special group.
It is rather surprising, is it not, that whichever way you turn to trace the harmful streams of influence that flow through society, you come upon a group of Jews? In baseball corruption—a group of Jews. In exploitative finance—a group of Jews. In theatrical degeneracy—a group of Jews. In liquor propaganda—a group of Jews. In control of national war policies—a group of Jews. Absolutely dominating the wireless communications of the world—a group of Jews. In the menace of the Movies—a group of Jews. In control of the Press through business and financial pressure—a group of Jews. War profiteers, 80 per cent of them—Jews. Organizers of active opposition of Christian laws and customs—Jews. And now, in this miasma of so-called popular music, which combines weak-mindedness with every suggestion of lewdness—again Jews.
The Jewish influence on American music is, without doubt, regarded as serious by those who know anything about it. Not only is there a growing protest against the Judaization of our few great orchestras, but there is a strong reaction from the racial collusion which fills the concert stage and popular platform with Jewish artists to the exclusion of all others.
The American people have been urged and chided and shamed into the beginning of a rather generous popular support of music in this country, and the first thing they see for their money is that Jewish artists supplant the non-Jewish artists, and use the prestige of their membership in symphony orchestras to work various small business schemes of their own. If they were superior artists, nothing against it could be said, but they are not superior artists; they are only better known and racially favored in Jewish musical circles.
That, however, is a big subject. It will receive attention in its turn. Just now it is the “popular song” that is being considered. However, as something which true lovers and knowers of music may meditate upon in view of future studies of Jewish influence in music, this observation is offered (the italics are ours):
“Meanwhile the Oriental, especially the Jewish, infection in our music, seemingly less widespread than the German was or the French is, may prove even more virulent. Those not temperamentally immune to it catch it less severely, like Mr. Leo Ornstein; and if they ever throw it off, as he has given some signs of doing, seem to be left devoid of energy and, as it were, permanently anemic.
“The insidiousness of the Jewish menace to our artistic integrity is due partly to the speciousness, the superficial charm and persuasiveness of Hebrew art, its brilliance, its violently juxtaposed extremes of passion, its poignant eroticism and pessimism, and partly to the fact that the strain in us that might make head against it, the deepest, most fundamental strain perhaps in our mixed nature, is diluted and confused by a hundred other tendencies.
“The Anglo-Saxon group of qualities, the Anglo-Saxon point of view, even though they are so thoroughly disguised, in a people descended from every race, that we easily forget them, and it is not safe to predicate them of any individual American, are nevertheless the vital nucleus of the American temper. And the Jewish domination of our music, even more than the Teutonic and the Gallic, threatens to submerge and stultify them at every point.”
“Let me make a nationís songs and I care not who makes the laws,” said one; in this country the Jews have had a very large hand in making both.
It is the purpose of this and the succeeding article to put Americans in full possession of the truth concerning the moron music which they habitually hum and sing and shout day by day, and if possible to help them to see the invisible Jewish baton which is waved above them for financial and propaganda purposes.
Just as the American stage and the American motion picture have fallen under the influence and control of the Jews and their art-destroying commercialism, so the business of handling “popular songs” has become a Yiddish industry.
Its leaders are for the most part Russian-born Jews, some of whom have personal pasts which are just as unsavory as THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT has shown the pasts of certain Jewish theatrical and movie leaders to be.
The country does not sing what it likes, but what the vaudeville “song pluggers” popularize by repeated renditions on the stage, until the flabby mind of the “ten-twentí-thirtí” audiences begin to repeat it on the streets. These “song pluggers” are the paid agents of the Yiddish song agencies. Money, and not merit, dominates the spread of the moron music which is styled “Jewish Jazz.” Of the business details, however, more later.
Tin Pan Alley, so-called because it constitutes a group of “song shops,” is populated by the “Abies” and “Izzies” and “Moes” who make up the composing staffs of the various institutions.
In this business of making the peopleís songs, the Jews have shown, as usual, no originality but very much adaptability—which is a charitable term used to cover plagiarism, which in turn politely covers the crime of mental pocket-picking. The Jews do not create; they take what others have done, give it a clever twist, and exploit it. They have bought up all the old hymn books, opera scores and collections of folk songs, and if you stop to analyze some of the biggest “hits” of the Yiddish song manufacturers, you will find they are woven on the motif and the melody of clean songs of the last generation; the music jazzed a little, the sentiment sensualized very much, and set upon their smutty road, across the country.
Because of absolute Jewish control of the song market, both in publishing and in theatrical performance, it is next to impossible for anything but a Jewish song to be published in the United States or, if published, to get a hearing. The proof of this is in the fact that the Yiddish trust owns the business and the so-called “song hits” all bear Jewish names.
A typical incident occurred in New York recently. A non-Jewish song composer had produced work of such commanding merit that musical sentiment demanded its public rendition. Jewish manager after Jewish manager was approached, but the combination was unbreakable. Finally, one New Yorker talked out and said something about “Jewish combine,” which had its effect. A Jewish manager protested that he would be glad to give the work to the public. Rehearsals were held and the night of presentation arrived. The first number was a solo and a Jew appeared to sing it. He could not pronounce English words. He sang through his nose. He was most Yiddish in appearance, the long nose, with narrow, sloping forehead, curly hair. The second number was a duet, and behold two Jews appeared, whose pronunciations differed between themselves. The performance was a most hilarious tragedy. The purpose was to kill a non-Jewish product by a poor Jewish rendition. But—the Jewish manager overdid it. It needed just that to bring non-Jewish musical consciousness to the surface and to explode the advertised and money-bought notion that the Jew has predominant artistic genius. Say that he predominates in music—yes; he has paid for and organized that predominance; do not, however, say anything about his predominance in musical genius or art.
Non-Jewish music has been stigmatized as “high brow.” It is purveyable only in expensively good society. The people, the masses, are fed from day to day on the moron suggestiveness that flows in a hurtful flood out of Tin Pan Alley.
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the region in Twenty-eighth street, between Broadway and Sixth avenue, where the first Yiddish song manufacturers began business. Flocks of young girls who thought they could sing, and others who thought they could write song poems, came to the neighborhood allured by dishonest advertisements that promised more than the budding Yiddish exploiters were able to fulfill. Needless to say, scandal became rampant, as it always does where so-called “Gentile” girls are reduced to the necessity of seeking favors from the eastern type of Jew. It was the constant shouting of voices, the hilarity of “parties,” the banging of pianos and the blatting of trombones that gave the district the name of Tin Pan Alley.
The first attempt to popularize and commercialize the so-called “popular” type of music was made by Julius Witmark, who had been a ballad singer on the minstrel stage. He ceased performing to become a publisher, and was soon followed by East Side Jews, many of whom have become wealthy through their success in pandering to a public taste which they first debased.
Irving Berlin, whose real name is Ignatz or Isadore Baline, is one of the most successful of these Jewish song controllers. He was born in Russia and early became a singer and entertainer. With the rise of “rag-time,” which was the predecessor of “jazz,” he found a new field for his nimble talents and his first big success was “Alexanderís Rag-Time Band”—a popular piece which by comparison with what has followed it, is a blushing, modest thing.
It was worth noting, in view of the organized eagerness of the Jew to make an alliance with the Negro, that it was Jewish “jazz” that rode in upon the wave of Negro “rag-time” popularity, and eventually displaced the “rag-time.”
Berlin has steadily gone the road from mere interestingness to unashamed erotic suggestion. He is the “headliner” in homes as well as in the not-too-particular music halls, but his stuff without its music sometimes savors of vile suggestion.
The motif of this business can be clearly seen in the “Berlin Big Hits.” There are the so-called “vamp” songs, such as “Harem Life,” and “You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea.”
Among the “successes” is the song entitled, “I Like It.” It is a “vamp” song which has been sung everywhere, even by myriads of children who could not appreciate the full suggestion of the words, but were hypnotized by the atmosphere which the words created when sung; and by older folks who would not under any circumstances speak the words of the song, but who are victims of the modern delusion that a little flashy music covers a multitude of sins. “I Like It” deals with a girl, “Mary Green, seventeen,” whose mother reproves her for flirting with the boys. (In the writing of this paragraph it was debated whether THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT should print what Mary replies to her mother. It was argued that printing the words might give a salutary shock to skeptical readers. It was also argued that the pages of this paper never yet had been defiled by obscenity. Maryís words, sung broadcast through the country, are therefore not given here.)
Readers should reserve comment until they search the piles of moron music rubbish in their own parlors. Readers have listened to much worse stuff than Maryís words, but covered by Yiddish “jazz.” It takes cold type to show what a song really is. A good test for a song is to try to read it aloud. Few normal people can.
“O-Hi-O,” as sung by Yiddish comedians, has a stench of its own. It may be commented on more extensively later as an example of the Yiddish practice of having three grades of the same song, to suit different degrees of degenerate appetites.
Such songs are not the worst, by any means. Jewish purveyors to degenerate appetites have a peculiarly devilish system of presenting the same song in two or three grades. There will be the song as it is sold at the music store to addle-pated young men and women who fill their leisure with hearing or humming this syncopated senility—young men and women who pitiably imagine they are keeping up with the times. The songs thus sold and sung are rotten enough. But there is the same song, Class 2. The theme and the melody are the same, but it goes “a little further.” There is a line or two in each stanza which dips below even the low standard which Jewish “jazz” has permitted in some of our parlors. And there is Class 3—same theme, same melody—but “going the limit.”
Young men about town usually know Class 2 and Class 3. The instance has been known that young women have become acquainted with these lower grades also. Forgetfulness by young men while singing at the piano evenings has given hints of the filthier version. And even where version 1 has been strictly adhered to, the mutual knowledge, politely concealed, has created an atmosphere far from wholesome.
The diabolical cunning with which an unclean atmosphere is created and sustained through all classes of society and by the same influence, will not be overlooked by any observer. There is something Satanic about it, something calculated with demonic shrewdness. And the stream flows on and on, growing worse and worse, to the degradation of the non-Jewish public and the increase of Jewish fortunes.
If THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT were to print on this page the bare words of the popular songs that are to be found in the parlors of the most respectable section of every city, the readerís sense of decency would cry out against it. The same words, when drawn out by numerous hyphens and covered up with nervous music, insinuate their way into the hummed tones of age and into the lilts of innocent childhood. Between the movies and the popular songs the Jewish groups dictate the intellectual life of the masses.
Among the latest Jewish “song hits” may be included these titles: “Iíll Say She Does”; “You Cannot Shake That Shimmy Here”; “Sugar Baby”; “In Room 202”; “Can You Tame Wild Wimmen?” and an almost endless list of the same nature, some of which titles are too suggestive for print. Yet they have free course everywhere—as everything Jewish does, in this country.
Ministers, educators, reformers, parents, citizens who are amazed at the growth of looseness among the people, rail at the evil results. They see the evil product and they attack the product. They rail at the young people who go in for all this eroticism and suggestiveness.
But all this has a source! Why not attack the source? When a population is bathed in sights, sounds and ideas of a certain character, drenched in them and drowned in them, by systematic, deliberate, organized intent, the point of attack should be the cause, not the effect. Yet, that is precisely where the point of attack has not been made, presumably because of lack of knowledge.
It is of little use blaming the people. The people are what they are made. Give the liquor business full sway and you have a population that drinks and carouses. After preaching abstinence to the victims for a century, the country turned its attention to the victimizers, and the abuse was greatly curtailed. The traffic is still illicitly carried on, but even so, the best way to abolish the illicit traffic is to identify the groups that carry it on.
The entire population of the United States could be turned into narcotic addicts if the same freedom was given the illicit narcotic ring as is now given the Yiddish popular song manufacturers. But in such a condition it would be stupid to attack the addicts; common sense would urge the exposure of the panderers.
A dreadful narcotizing of moral modesty and the application of powerful aphrodisiacs have been involved in the present craze for popular songs—a stimulated craze. The victims are everywhere. But ministers, educators, reformers, parents, and public-spirited citizens are beginning to see the futility of scolding the young people thus diseased. Common sense dictates a cleaning out of the source of the disease. The source is in the Yiddish group of song manufacturers who control the whole output and who are responsible for the whole matter from poetry to profits.
Next to the moral indictment against the so-called “popular” song is the indictment that it is not popular. Everybody hears it, perhaps the majority sing it; it makes its way from coast to coast; it is flung into the peopleís minds at every movie and from every stage; it is advertised in flaring posters; phonograph records shriek it forth day and night, dance orchestras seem enamored with it, player pianos roll it out by the yard. And by sheer dint of repetition and suggestion the song catches on—as a burr thistle catches on; until it is displaced by another. There is no spontaneous popularity.
It is a mere mechanical drumming on the minds of the public. There is often not a single atom of sentiment or spiritual appeal in the whole loudly trumpeted “success”; men and women, boys and girls have simply taken to humming words and tunes which they cannot escape, night or day.
The deadly anxiety of “keeping up with the times” drives the army of piano-owners to the music stores to see what is “going” now, and of course it is the Yiddish moron music that is going, and so another home and eventually another neighborhood is inoculated.
But there is no popularity. Take any moron music addict you know and ask him what was the “popular” song three weeks ago, and he will not be able to tell. These songs are so lacking in all that the term “popular” means as regards their acceptableness, that they die overnight, unregretted. Directly the Yiddish manufacturers have another “hit” to make (it is always the public that is “hit”) a new song is crammed down the public gullet, and because it is the “latest,” and because the Yiddish advertisements say that it is a “hit,” and because the hired “pluggers” say that everybody is singing it, that song too becomes “popular” for its brief period, and so on through the year. It is the old game of “changing the styles” to speed up business and make the people buy. Nothing lasts in the Yiddish game—styles of clothing, movies nor songs; it is always something new, to stimulate the flow of money from the popular pocket into the moron music makersí coffers.
There hasnít been a real “popular” song of Yiddish origin since the Jewish whistlers and back-alley songsters of New Yorkís East Side undertook to handle musical America—not one, unless we except in genuine gratitude George Cohanís “Over There,” a song which came out of a period of strain and went straight to the peopleís heart.
Two facts about the “popular song” are known to all: first, that for the most part it is indecent and the most active agent of moral miasma in the country, or if not the most active, then neck and neck with the “movies”; second, that the “popular song” industry is an exclusively Jewish industry. But the inside story of the operation of this control of the peopleís music presents other facts which the people ought to know, and these additional facts will appear in another article.
[THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 6 August 1921]