Happy Easter and Happy Passover to our readers around the world. On Good Friday Mark read a timely excerpt from Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris, and earlier today we offered our annual reprise of Steyn's take on Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion Of The Christ. So, to round out this Saturday night, here's a special podcast, audiophonically adapted from an essay that appears in Mark's book A Song For The Season: the story of the most famous pop hit about Easter - sort of.
Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade" has its beginnings in a very obscure chin-up song from the Great War written in 1917. In this audio special, Mark traces its origins as a First World War morale booster to its re-emergence a generation later as the American Songbook's only Easter standard. Along the way, we'll also explore the long languished tradition of Easter parades, the meaning of the word "rotogravure", and whether anyone actually could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet. To accompany Mark on the trail of this American anthem, there are musical performers from Al Jolson and John McCormack to Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney - plus Irving Berlin himself and a young George Gershwin. And we'll also touch on a few other numbers that played a role in this song's story, from "God Bless America" and "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" to "Hooray For Hollywood" and the haunting "Supper Time".
To listen to our "Easter Parade" podcast, simply click the button above - and don't forget that Mark's beloved book A Song For The Season, which includes his essay on "Easter Parade", is also out in eBook - at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo-Chapters in Canada, and worldwide. So, whatever your preferred digital distribution method, you can be reading it within a minute!
Alternatively you can order your personally autographed copy of the good old-fashioned print edition of Song For The Season exclusively from the SteynOnline bookstore - and, if you're a Mark Steyn Club member, remember to enter your promo code at checkout to enjoy special member pricing. For more on The Mark Steyn Club, fast approaching its second birthday, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership.