I’ve been giving some thought to the context in which all this popular music has happened and changed. The three decades that I understand the best, and in which my tastes were shaped, were the 50s, 60s and 70s. Here’s what I’ve been thinking.
The 50s were conditioned by the austere post-war period and the need for young people to seek fun and excitement that had been in short supply in the 40s. It was the decade in which the crossover of black music into white communities in the Western world really began to happen as a trend. Rock and roll was a black music and its best and most original artists were black: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard. Elvis really made only a few r&r records, i.e. relative to his output as s whole, but he obviously played a huge role in popularizing the sound, as had been foreseen by Sam Phillips.
It made sense. If you wanted wild joyous fun, you weren’t going to get it from Mario Lanza or Bing Crosby. Black music fitted the bill like nothing else could have. Jazz was also crossing over to white audiences on an increased scale, albeit to » Continue Reading.