There’s an old joke that goes something like this ~

A young boy wanders into the kitchen to ask his grandmother a question. “Grandma, why do Jewish people always answer a question with another question?” The grandmother looks at him and says, “Why? Who wants to know?”


I’ve heard from my Jewish friends that we are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers. So I wasn’t surprised by the Russian-born cantor’s son who wrote a song that favors questions (10) over statements (1). What truly amazed me was his unthinkable feat of composing music in only one key, F sharp.  

imagesIrving Berlin’s song, How Deep Is the Ocean?, was recorded by just about every singer riddled with musical genius ~  Ronnie Aldrich, Julie Andrews, Maxene Andrews, Ray Anthony, Chet Baker, The Beach Boys, Stanley Black, Pat Boone, Connie Boswell, Teresa Brewer, Charlie Byrd, Elsie Carlisle, Frank Chacksfield, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Bing Crosby, Vic Damone, Billy Daniels, Miles Davis, Sheena Easton, Duke Ellington, Michael Feinstein,Gracie Fields, Eddie Fisher, Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Forrest, Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, Erroll Garner, Marvin Gaye, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie Gleason, Benny Goodman & his Orch., Stephane Grappelli, Dick Haymes, Al Hirt, Leslie Hutchinson, Etta James, Harry James, Al Jolson, Bert Kaempfert & his Orch., Stan Kenton, Diana Krall, Gene Krupa, Peggy Lee, Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians, Julie London, Barry Manilow, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Patti Page, Charlie Parker, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Oscar Peterson, Ruby and the Romantics, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Keely Smith, Dorothy Squires, Kay Starr, Dinah Washington, Elisabeth Welch ….. well, you get the idea.

Of course, I have a favorite.

Who is yours?


Suppose no one asked a question, what would be the answer?

I wonder who asked that?

Toni 8/22/14


  1. Apparently Berlin had a device built into his piano that slid the keyboard so while he played in F # he could actually compose and play in other keys sort of like a capo for a guitar. The nickname for his special piano was ” Buick.”
    When Berlin died at 101 years of age his office received a call from a reporter wanting to know what he died from.
    The reply was ” He died from being 101 years old.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Or not. I think he was kind of a grouch at times. But, think about this: You and I are having a conversation (sort of) about two really influential people in in music who probably never even knew about each other. We are able to enjoy both of their musical contributions along with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole and on and on. And we have access to any and all the music we want. There is more music happening than we know. I think it’s a great time to be alive IF you keep your ears open.


Plz leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s