[Dixielandjazz] Was Jazz ever popular music?

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Wed Jan 10 15:12:23 PST 2007

On Jan 10, 2007, at 3:52 PM, Steve Barbone wrote:
> ...Which got me thinking about American Popular music in the decade 
> after World
> War 2, 1945 to 1955. Off the top of my head here is a partial list of 
> the
> Pop Singing Stars of that decade. Why singers? Because during this 
> decade,
> they replaced band leaders as the primary force in pop music in the 
> USA.
> Bing Crosby; Frank Sinatra; Perry Como; Dinah Shore; The Andrews 
> Sisters;
> Frankie Laine; Mario Lanza; Tony Bennett; Dean Martin; Four Aces, Four
> Freshman; Nat King Cole (after giving up jazz piano); Sammy Davis Jr; 
> Eddie
> Fisher; Doris Day; Johnny Ray; Jo Stafford; Dick Haymes; Patti Page; 
> Kay
> Starr (after she left jazz singing with Wingy Manone and Joe Venuti):
> Rosemary Clooney (before she became a jazz singer in the 1990s); Judy
> Garland; Joni James; Ernie Ford; Jeri Southern; Julius LaRosa; Andy
> Williams; Teresa Brewer (after recording with the Dixieland All 
> Stars); Pete
> Seeger (and lots of other folkies)
> ....Geez, it was those damn singers that replaced jazz as America's 
> popular
> music. :-) VBG

Yep. The standard take on the popularity singers in post-war US is 
plausible to me....After WWII the public didn't want the fast pace of 
the swing bands that had dominated for a decade but something to relax 
by, romantic stuff. Most of the vocalists, you'll note, were mainly 
balladeers who sang at an easy gait (bordering on comatose, in Perry 
Como's case. Just kidding. He was a good singer, just a little 
lethargic.) This went well with the squeaky clean, Beaver Cleaver fare 
on TV.  Make nice, everybody.  The reaction against this was a return 
to the beat, with a vengeance, the backbeat of R&B and Rock n Roll in 
the mid-fifties. The explanation is a little pat, but it basically 
works for me and captures the "feel" of those times as I remember them. 
Bop wasn't popular at all in the sense that these singers were, 
although there was a niche audience for it. Same for folk music, I 


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