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Tin Pan Alley was the popular music publishing center of the world between 1885 to the 1920’s. Tin Pan Alley originally referred to a specific place: West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Flower District of Manhattan. By the end of the century, a number of influential publishers had offices on 28th street between 5th Avenue and Broadway. This part of 28th street became known as “Tin Pan Alley”. The name “Tin Pan Alley” is attributed to a newspaper writer named Monroe Rosenfeld. While he was staying in New York, he coined the term to articulate the cacophony of dozens of pianos being pounded at once in publisher’s demo rooms. He said it sounded like hundreds of people pounding on tin pans. During the years before air conditioning, New York City buildings had operable windows. The demonstration cubicles lined the front and alley walls of the buildings stretching for any natural daylight they could find. New York was hot in the summer and the windows would be wide open. The sounds would tumble to the street and bounce off the facing buildings. It must have sounded amazing. The term was used in a series of articles he wrote around 1900.
"When You're Smiling" is a popular song written by Larry Shay, Mark Fisher and Joe Goodwin in 1928. It was made famous by Louis Armstrong, who recorded it at least three times, in 1929, 1932, and 1956.
"Ain't She Sweet" is a song composed by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) and published in 1927 by Edwin H. Morris & Co., Inc./Warner Bros., Inc. It became popular in the first half of the 20th century, one of the hit songs that typified the Roaring Twenties. It became a Tin Pan Alley standard. Both Ager and Yellen were elected to membership in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"On the Sunny Side of the Street" is a 1930 song, with credited music composed by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Lew Leslie's International Revue, starring Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence. Richman and Ted Lewis enjoyed hit records with the song in 1930.
"Alexander's Ragtime Band" is a song by Irving Berlin written in 1911. It was his first major hit! It is believed by some (especially jazz/ragtime circles in New Orleans, and the Watzke family of New Orleans), that Berlin was writing about a real band and bandleader, who were popular at the time in New Orleans, and actually was known as Alexander's Ragtime Band, after its leader, Alexander Joseph Watzke (also known as "King" Watzke or Alex Watzke). Vaudeville singer Emma Carus, famed for her "female baritone", is said to have been largely responsible for successfully introducing the song in Chicago and helping contribute to its immense popularity, and is credited on the cover of the sheet music. It became identified with her, and soon worked its way back to New York where Al Jolson also began to perform it. The song had a presence on the charts for five straight decades.