Choose 10 American tunes that were listened to by people in the era from 1918-1945. Construct a playlist. Then post your playlist with your explanation of why these songs were significant to the people who listened to them in the years 1918-1945.
The music of the 20th century brought new ideas of experimentation that changed the musical eras of the previous centuries. The decades after the start of the 20th century brought new inventions like electronic music and challenged the eras of ballads and folk songs. Amplification allowed the birth of giant concerts where millions of people could attend and listen to their favorite artists live. Music genres from the East, Middle-East, Latin and the West became audible to the rest of the world due to progression in science and communication and people became inspired from the old and started composing the new. The free transmission of broadcast through the radio allowed music to be heard all around the world and gave access to people. The decades formed any iconic songs however in the following discussion, the detailed explanation of the best ten songs from the 1918-1945 is discussed and why they became immortalized in the first place.
10. The Prisoner’s Song – Vernon Dalhart (1925)
It was copyrighted by Vernon Dalhart in the year of 1924 by his cousin’s name, who actually sang the original song. It was recognized as one of the best songs of the 1920and one of the best selling records of the early 20th century. As per some reports at that time, the song’s sheet music it sold more than one million copies (Malone et al.) It was labeled in the market as a hillbilly music genre. People in the 1920s loved this music because at that time, it was something new and very innovative. Despite the fact that the lyrics spoke of a person who is feeling depressed, the music is very energetic and can be enjoyed at any kind of situation.
9. My Blue Heaven – Gene Austin (1927)
It was written Walter Donaldson and its lyrics were done by George A. Whiting. It was used by the theatrical revenue production, Ziegfeld Follies during the 1927 (Rossing) During the 1928, it maintained the number one spot for over than thirteen weeks and also became one of the best selling singles of all time. It was later introduced in the Grammy Hall of Fame in the 1970s. It was a breakthrough song of the 1920s which was really popular amongst people who were over the age of 50s at that time. To the listen, it visualizes a life of a person who is happy with his family. The “Blue Heaven” is the home where the family is together and happy.
8. Swanee - Al Jolson (1919)
It was written by George Gershwin and its lyrics were done by Irving Caesar, however it received international fame when it was sung by the American singer Al Johnson. It was originally written for a New York City’s theoretical revue called Demi-Tasse in the year of 1919 (Latham.) The song was used as huge production number with women dancing with electronic lights. It was a song which was mainly enjoyed in pubs and open night restaurants by people who loved leisure time after work on weekends. It was very popular amongst the middle aged workers of the United States.
7. Minnie the Moocher – Cab Calloway (1931)
It was recorder by Cab Calloway with his orchestra group. It is known as one of the most popular jazz songs of the 1930s and sold over one million copies (Hannan) It is widely known nonsensical lyrics and bass lines. In some of the performances, the audience would sing along with Calloway by repeating each phase of the lyrics in the form of call and response. This song was thoroughly enjoyed at parties where men and women used to sing as a chorus as the song played in the background. It was also very popular in pubs and restaurants in the 1930s (Atkins)
6. In the Mood - Glenn Miller (1939)
It was recorded by Glenn Miller and his orchestra in the year of 1939. After it was on top of the charts for thirteen weeks straight in the year of 1940, it was also used in the film Sun Valley Serenade. In the year of 1983, Glenn Miller was introduced in the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also considered one of the most important musical works of the United States in the 20th century. It is a very romantic song which was enjoyed by couples during a first date or drive in theatres (Guéguen et al.) It was a very traditional music of the Valentine’s Day for radio broadcast. For many people in symbolizes nostalgia when they were young and were in love.
5. Riders in the Sky – Vaughn Monroe (1949)
It was written by American actor Stan Jones who was inspired by the traditional Irish song, Spancil Hill. There were a number of versions made by many popular artists over the year however the most popular of them was the one done by Vaughn Monroe. It was also known as “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. It became of the most popular Western songs of all time. The song has a country style to it with a vibrant theme of cowboy styled rhythm (Brown) It tells the story of a cowboy who is being chased by spirits as he escapes. Stan Jones heard the story from one of his old friend and was inspired to write it as a song. To many young people it is a very inspiring and motivational song.
4. Swinging On a Star – Bing Crosby (1944)
It was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen and its lyrics were done by Bing Crosby. It is considered one of the iconic pop songs of the decade. It was also used in the film Going My Way in 1944, which also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Since the 1940s it was recorded and covered by many musicians worldwide. It was a very popular family song of that time which was enjoyed by people of the 1940s (Blume) It even had the same popularity in the 1950s and decades later. It was a very ambitious song which was enjoyed by young adults.
3. Silent Night - Bing Crosby (1935)
It is a popular Christmas carol which in the year of 1818 was composed by the Austrian artist Franz Xaver Gruber. Ever since then, it was recorded by multiple artists worldwide and each of the covers are widely acclaimed, however the version of Bing Crosby is considered to be the third best selling single of all time (Chimers, Christmas, and Ornament Exchange). Even to this day, the song is regarded as a classic and enjoyed by all age groups and specially enjoyed by people during the night of Christmas Eve as they used to wait eagerly for the morning after.
2. White Christmas – Bing Crosby (1942)
It is considered one of the old-fashioned Christmas songs which attainted world class fame when it was performed by Bing Crosby. He later recorder the song with John Scott Orchestra and released it with an album in 1942. After it was released, Crosby did not consider the song to be special, however later it gained international fame and became the best selling single of all time. Various radio channels in the United States still play this song on Christmas Eve every year. The song also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in the musical film Holiday Inn (Giesbrecht)
1. Somewhere over the Rainbow – Judy Garland (1939)
It is a ballad which was published in the late 30s. Harold Arlen composed the music, Yip Harburg wrote the lyrics and it was sung by Judy Garland. It was originally written for the movie iconic musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz (Mandell) Considered to be one of the greatest songs of the 20th century; it became the signature song of Judy Garland. The songs pictures a place “over the rainbow” where peace and happiness exists. The cover by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole also immensely popular and is initially used as a song for protests and activism over the world (Sehn) To many people this is contrasted towards childhood memories when they saw The Wizard of Oz for the first time and remind them of much simple days.
Therefore from the above discussion, these were initially the most popular songs or music of the 1918-1945. Though there were many more songs to be included in this playlist, however these songs have a special place for the hearts of many people around the world. Not only these songs are evergreen, it can also e said that these songs will be enjoyed by people even centuries later from now. Not just because of the exceptional lyrics and beautiful rhythm, but each and every song is the above list represents many memories and is the foundations for many popular songs which were inspired by them.
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