MUSIC WORLD

Because of their numbers, senior people are everywhere, enjoying the music world with their friends and families. Baby-boomers came along when music ran the course of Big Band/Swing, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Be-Bop and least we forget Rock & Roll. Music played to the heart and soul of those who listened. Entertainment halls and clubs filled up with those seeking to have a good time. There was a great deal of uncertainty and yet hope was on the horizon.

During the early forties and fifties jobs and opportunities began to open for many who were willing to work hard. Quite a few of these baby-boomers acquired skills through unions, federal training programs and college. To make it big you had to have that good paying job to afford the new shiny car, house, appliances and dress; to look the part of being successful. The music world played a major role in the lives of those on the upswing and further connected them to their friends and associates.

After having worked hard, many had the resources at their disposal to play equally as hard. The ambition of this era was to enjoy life, keep oneself in a positive frame of mind and to live the good life. Music helped to provide fun and musical pleasure, disperse loneliness, and provide a means of relaxation.  Keep in mind during the above era, as well as the sixties through the nineties, there were at least (5) wars being fought which the United States was involved in. Whereas many were dealing with individual problems there was also the cloud of uncertainty regarding loved ones who were involved in these wars.

The music world also helped to elevate the mood of the people. During the ‘Big Band Era’, which played jazz and swing music, there were countless ones who brought to their audiences great pleasure; just to mention a few, there was Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. In pop music there was Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstein, Dean Martin, The Mills Brothers and Frank Sinatra. Female vocalists included Andrews Sisters, Pearl Bailey, Peggy Lee, and Sara Vaughan. In rhythm and blues there was Ray Charles, BB King, Faust Stag, and Steve Ray Vaughn.

While the list of entertainers is far more extensive than those listed here; the fact is the music was rich and inviting through the lyrics, rhythms and through the various forms mentioned earlier. The numerous varieties clearly stirred many of the people. For those who did not attend the halls and clubs, there existed the option of music being heard on the air waves by radio and later both radio and television. The music world established record companies who sponsored and employed the artistic talents of those wanting to become that rising star. Many of these entertainers flipped from one form of music to another; in fact to be in the running for the star position they had to sing or play several types of music. Many entertainers gained their early experiences in the church. Because the music chords played could be transferred to different rhythms, quite often they left to move to whatever form would bring them money and fame for their musical abilities. The number of records that the music world could sell determined the popularity and money made by the company and the entertainer. Records were vinyl discs sold which played at 33.1/3, 78 or 45 RPM speed which were played on a machine and could be listened to over and over again.  

Dances and house parties were a regular past time for the young and young at heart. Boomers enjoyed themselves as they listened and danced to the beat of their favorite entertainers. They collected records to be able to entertain themselves and their friends. For the record companies they signed on artists based upon the number of records they felt the artist could get the public to buy.  An artist who sold over a million copies was at the height of his career (Gold Level), other levels included were the platinum and bronze level. Stage names were developed, costumes, choreographers and   entourages needed to provide the needs and wants of the entertainer. Contracts were designed to hold an entertainer to a specific company for a period of time, at a specific percentage rate. Also details were written into their contract which the star demanded; some stars drank certain brands, needed certain flowers, certain size dressing room, bodyguards, etc.
The music world was all about the music and how to persuade the public to buy it. Companies carried music to television through such shows as The Ed Sullivan show, and various other late night shows, Dick Clark Band Stand Soul Train and various concert halls to bring greater star exposure, thus greater sales. Later there came live tours around the country and across the globe. Music sets became more and more elaborate with high tech equipment to carry and improve the sound, more backup singers and dancers and sensationalism to wow the crowd.  Again, all of this took place to provide greater sales and star exposure.

Who can forget where they were and who they were with earlier in their lives when certain songs are played now. How do certain songs make you feel? Your emotions bring back memories long ago buried in the memory banks. Do you remember, you and your friends singing along with the record? Imagine this, you still remember the words to your favorite song from years ago. You may still be able to dance some of the dance routine of your favorite entertainers. The music made you feel good and all too often, glad to be alive or sad because of something which happened at the time that music came into your life. Baby-boomers are very fortunate that they lived during a time when music was so prolific and produced at such a fast pace. So much of it came from so many different genres that intertwined with each other. Some of your music world collection was lost in moving about or given to others for them to enjoy. Some have become collectors in an attempt to recapture that period in their lives or to allow their offspring to hear what they consider awesome music.

Some of the music of the baby-boomer generation is being re-recorded or updated for the new entertainers of this generation. The music and lyrics were so strong that much of it continues to be played on the airways today.  Those listeners of today call this ‘old school music’, but they really enjoy it as we of the baby-boomer generation have.