Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1940´s)


  • Disney's "Fantasia" introduces stereo sound
  • Pete Seeger forms the Almanac Singers to sing protest songs with communist overtones
  • Keynote is founded by Eric Bernay


  • Arkansas' radio station KFFA hires Sonny Boy Williamson to advertise groceries, the first case of mass exposure by blues singers
  • "La Discotheque" opens in paris, a club devoted to jazz music


  • Bing Crosby's White Christmas becomes the best-selling song of all times (and will remain so for 50 years)
  • Los Angeles bluesman T-Bone Walker incorporates jazz chords into the blues guitar with I Got A Break Baby
  • Capitol is founded in Hollywood, the first major music company which is not based in New York
  • Savoy is founded in Newark (NJ) by by Herman Lubinsky to promote black music


  • The first "disc jockeys" follow the American troops abroad
  • The USA army introduces V-Discs that play six minutes of music per side
  • Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein produce the musical Oklahoma that uses choreographer Agnes de Mille to design the ballets
  • King is founded in Cincinnati by Sydney Nathan to promote black music


  • Les Paul invents "echo delay", "multi-tracking" and many other studio techniques
  • Sam Hoffman plays the theremin in film soundtracks
  • White bluesman Johnny Otis assembles a combo for Harlem Nocturne that is basically a shrunk-down version of the big-bands of swing
  • Mercury is founded in Chicago
  • Jules Bihari founds Modern Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
  • Bill Monroe's Kentucky Waltz popularizes the "bluegrass" style 


  • Louis Jordan launches "jump blues" with Choo Choo Ch'Boogie
  • Muddy Waters cuts the first records of Chicago's electric blues (rhythm and blues) 
  • Carl Hogan plays a powerful guitar riff on Louis Jordan's Ain't That Just Like a Woman
  • Damstadt in Germany sets up a school for avantgarde composers
  • Raymond Scott founds "Manhattan Research", the world's first electronic music studio
  • Lew Chudd founds Imperial Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
  • The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film company opens a recording business to sell their movie soundtracks
  • Specialty Records is founded by Art Rupe in Los Angeles to specialize in black popular music


  • Billboard's writer Jerry Wexler coins the term "rhythm and blues" for Chicago's electric blues
  • Roy Brown writes and cuts Good Rockin' Tonight in Texas
  • Six majors control the music market: Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, Mercury
  • The Hollywood-based tv program of Korla Pandit (John Red), pretending to be an Indian guru and playing a Hammond organ, publicizes exotic sounds
  • Chess Records is founded in Chicago by two Polish-born Jews to promote rhythm and blues
  • Ahmet Ertegun founds Atlantic in New York to promote black music at the border between jazz, rhythm and blues and pop


  • Pete Seeger forms the Weavers, which start the "folk revival"
  • Detroit rhythm'n'blues saxophonist Wild Bill Moore releases We're Gonna Rock We're Gonna Roll
  • Columbia introduces the 12-inch 33-1/3 RPM long-playing vinyl record that can play 20 minutes on each side, invented by Peter Goldmark
  • Pierre Schaeffer creates a laboratory for "musique concrete" in Paris and performs a concerto for noises 
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Tale Of The South Pacific introduces exotic sounds to Broadway
  • Leo Fender introduces its electric guitar (later renamed Telecaster)
  • Moe Asch founds Folkways, devoted to folk music
  • Ed Sullivan starts a variety show on national television (later renamed "Ed Sullivan Show")
  • Homer Dudley invents the Vocoder (Voice Operated recorder)
  • Memphis' radio station WDIA hires Nat Williams, the first black disc jockey
  • The magazine "Billboard" introduces charts for "folk" and "race" records


  • Moondog virtually invents every future genre of rock music
  • Fats Domino cuts The Fat Man, a new kind of boogie
  • Hank Williams' Lovesick Blues reaches the top of the country charts
  • Scatman Crothers cuts I Want To Rock And Roll (1949), with Wild Bill Moore on saxophone
  • RCA Victor introduces the 45 RPM vinyl record
  • Fantasy is founded
  • Todd Storz of the KOWH radio station starts the "Top 40" radio program
  • The "Billboard" chart for "race" records becomes the chart for "rhythm and blues" records
  • German physicist Werner Meyer-Eppler publishes the book "Elektronische Klangerzeugung", about making music by purely electronic devices
  • Aristocrat changes its name to Chess

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1930´s)


  • The first "fanzines", science fiction pulp magazines "Comet" and "Time Traveller", are founded, to allow sci-fi fans to communicate
  • Leon Termen invents the first rhythm machine, the "Rhythmicon"
  • Warner Brothers buys Brunswick


  • EMI (Electrical and Musical Industries), formed by the merge of Gramophone and the British subsidiary of Columbia, opens the largest recording studio in the world at Abbey Road in London, while the USA division of Columbia is sold
  • Edgar Varese premieres a piece for percussions, Ionisation
  • George Beauchamp invents the electric guitar (the Rickenbacker)
  • Gene Autry's Silver Hairde Daddy Of Mine popularizes the "honky-tonk" style of country music


  • Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord invents gospel music in Chicago 
  • Milton Brown and Bob Wills invent "western swing" 


  • Cuban bandleader Ignacio Pineiro releases Echale Salsita, the song that gives the name "salsa" to Cuba's dance music
  • Only six million records are sold in the USA
  • Jimmie Rodgers dies
  • Sales of "race records" drop to $6 million
  • The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is founded to represent the recording industry worldwide


  • John Lomax and his son Alan begin recording black music of the southern states, and discover the gospel genre of "rocking and reeling"
  • Laurens Hammond invents the Hammond organ
  • The first magazine devoted to jazz music, Down Beat, is published


  • The radio program "Hit Parade" is launched
  • Woody Guthrie writes the Dust Bowl Ballads and becomes the first major singer-songwriter
  • Max Gordon founds the jazz club "Village Vanguard" in New York


  • Roy Acuff becomes the first star of Nashville's country music
  • Bluesman Robert Johnson cuts his first record
  • Carl Stalling begins scoring the soundtracks for Warner Brothers' cartoons
  • The Gibson company produces its first electric guitar, the ES-150


  • Records by the "big bands" are the best sellers
  • The mambo is born in Cuba 


  • a Carnegie Hall concert by the piano trio of Albert Hammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson launches the boogie-woogie craze
  • CBS buys USA's Columbia


  • Leo Mintz founds a record store in Cleveland, the "Record Rendezvous", specializing in black music
  • John Cage composes Imaginary Landascape N.1 for magnetic tape
  • The "Grand Ole Pry" moves to Nashville's "Ryman Auditorium" and is broadcasted by the national networks
  • The Panoram visual jukebox is invented (plays short films of records, the first music videos)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1920´s)


  • Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues is the first blues by a black singer to become a nation-wide hit
  • Eric Satie composes music not to be listened to ("musique d'ameublement", furniture music)
  • Westinghouse Electric starts the first commercial radio station, "KDKA"


  • 106 million records are sold in the USA, mostly published on "Tin Pan Alley", but control of the market is shifting to the record companies
  • Okeh introduces a "Colored Catalog" targeting the black community, the first series of "race records"
  • The Donaueschingen Festival of avantgarde music is founded


  • Trixie Smith cuts My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll
  • Texan fiddler Eck Robertson cuts the first record of "old-time music"
  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy advocates the use of phonograph records to produce music, not only to reproduce it
  • James Sterling buys out the British division of Columbia


  • Bessie Smith cuts her first blues record
  • John Carson records two "hillbilly" songs and thus founds country music ⇐
  • Arnold Schoenberg completes his 12-tone system of composition (the first form of "serialism")


  • The Music Corporation of America (MCA) is founded in Chicago as a talent agency
  • German record company Deutsche Grammophon (DG) founds the Polydor company to distribute records abroad
  • Andre' Breton publishe the "Surrealist Manifesto" in Paris
  • Riley Puckett introduces the "yodeling" style of singing into country music


  • The Mills Brothers popularize the "barbershop harmonies"
  • Carl Sprague is the first musician to record cowboy songs (the first "singing cowboy" of country music)
  • The electrical recording process is commercially introduced, quickly replacing the mechanical one
  • Victor and Western Electric create the first electrical recording
  • 78.26 RPM is chosen as a standard for phonographic records because phonographs at that speed could use a standard 3600-rpm motor and 46-tooth gear (78.26 = 3600/46).
  • Nashville's first radio station is founded (WSM) and begins broadcasting a program that will change name to "Grand Ole Opry"


  • Bing Crosby cuts his first record and invents the "crooning" style of singing thanks to a new kind of microphone
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson is the first bluesman to enter e major recording studio
  • Will Shade founds the first "jug band" in Memphis, inspired by Louisville's first jug bands
  • The magazine "Phonograph Monthly Review" is founded
  • Vitaphone introduces 16-inch acetate-coated shellac discs playing at 33 1/3 RPM (a size and speed calculated to be the equivalent of a reel of film)
  • The British magazine "Melody Maker" is founded
  • General Electric founds the "National Broadcasting Company" (NBC)


  • Meade Lux Lewis cuts Honky Tonk Train, the most famous boogie woogie ⇐
  • Russian composer Leon Termen performs the first concerto with the "theremin"
  • Jimmie Rodgers, the first star of country music, adopts "yodeling" style of singing, the blues style of black music, and the Hawaian slide guitar
  • Classical composer Kurt Weill begins a collaboration with playwright Bertold Brecht, incorportating jazz, folk and pop elements in his soundtracks
  • Sales of "race records" reach $100 million


  • The United Independent Broadcasters (later renamed Columbia Broadcasting System, or CBS) of 47 affiliate stations is founded
  • Clarence "Pinetop" Smith cuts Pinetop's Boogie Woogie
  • Maurice Martenot invents an electronic instrument, the Ondes-Martenot


  • Decca is founded in Britain by Edward Lewis as a classical music company
  • RCA buys Victor Talking Machines
  • The "Great Depression" destroys the record industry
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson dies

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1910´s)


  •  John Lomax publishes "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads"

  •  Aleksander Skryabin composes "Prometheus" featuring an instrument projecting light  instead of playing sound

  •  Sergei Diaghilev produces in Paris the ballet "Scheherazade", the most successful of the "Ballets Russes"

  •  The American Photoplayer Company introduces the "Fotoplayer Style", an instrument that can play orchestral music as well as sound effects 

  •  350,000 pianos are manufactured in the USA


  •  William Spiller's band, the Musical Spillers, export ragtime to Britain

  •  The incidental music to Richard Walton Tully's play Bird of Paradise popularizes the ukulele and the steel guitar

  • The first blues is published, Hart Wand's Dallas Blues 

  • Henry Cowell introduces "tone clusters" in The Tides of Manaunaun (1912) by striking the keys with forearm and fist


  •  Italian "futurist" Luigi Russolo publishes "L'Arte dei Rumori", in which he proclaims noise to be the sound of the 20th century, and especially noise produced by machines, such as his own "Intonarumori"


  • Jerome Kern invents the "musical" by integrating music, drama and ballet and setting it into the present 

  •  The American Society for Composers (ASCAP) is founded to protect songwriters


  •  Tristan Tzara founds the Dada movement in Zurich


  •  Henry Cowell composes quartets using combinations of rhythms and overtones that are impossible to play by humans

  •  The first record to be advertised as "samba" is Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos, better known as "Donga", Pelo Telefone 

  • Alexander Scriabin's "Prometheus" features a light show

  • Piano makers Brunswick start a record label

  •  Cecil Sharp publishes a collection of folk music from the Appalachian mountains

  •  Julian Carrillo writes "The Thirteenth Sound Theory" which heralds music for microtones


  •  The first jazz record is cut in New York


  •  James Europe's Hellfighters export jazz to France


  •  General Electric absorbs the American branch of Marconi Wireless Telegraph and renames it Radio Corporation of America (RCA)
  •  Will Marion Cook's syncopated orchestra plays jazz for King George V in Britain