Kate Smith was Americas top songstress in 1938, and her weekly Kate Smith Hour
on CBS was heard by many millions of radio listeners that Thursday, November 10
when she sang Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” for the first time as the closing number of the show. The new anthem became so popular that Smith sang it on
nearly every broadcast through December 1940, after which there was a ban
on public performances of ASCAP songs. Kate Smith recorded “God Bless
America” for RCA Victor on March 21, 1939, and that version has been
reissued countless times over the years.