American Music Timeline - 1930-1960
Part V: 1930-1960
by David Johnson
Blues pianist Thomas A. Dorsey, "father of gospel music," writes song "Take My Hand Precious Lord"
|Circa 1935|| |
Clarinetist Benny Goodman named "King of Swing"; Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw lead popular dance bands
Aaron Copland composes El Salon Mexico, major orchestral work; uses jazz, American folk music to create American-sounding music for ballet, film, symphony orchestra
Electric guitar debuts
Roy Acuff brings nationwide popularity to Grand Ole Opry radio show, helps standardize style with its nasal "high-country" twang
Versatile composer, conductor, pianist, Leonard Bernstein composes musical On the Town, followed by string of others, including West Side Story, 1957
Irving Berlin musical Annie Get Your Gun is huge hit; Call Me Madam, 1950
|Circa 1947|| |
Singer Mahalia Jackson inaugurates "golden age of gospel music" through 1965
Tenor Mario Lanza performs at Hollywood Bowl, draws accolades, launches career of "the voice of the century"
Columbia Records introduces "long playing" vinyl record
Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed uses term "rock 'n' roll" to promote rhythm and blues to white audiences
Avant-garde composer Elliott Cook Carter Jr. finishes String Quartet No. 1
|Circa 1954|| |
Bill Haley and the Comets become first major white band to use black rock 'n' roll forms, featuring heavy, danceable beat and repetitive patterns, "Rock Around the Clock" becomes huge hit
Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" is first of series of hits for "Mr. Rock' n' Roll"
|Circa 1955|| |
Elvis Presley becomes first "rock star"
Country Music Association, established in Nashville
Billboard magazine begins Hot 100 chart listing popular songs. Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" is the first No. 1 record.
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents first Grammy Award for music recorded in previous year
Berry Gordy Jr. founds Motown record company to mass-market black music, the Miracles, "Shop Around," 1961, is company's first song to sell one million copies; in 1960s stars include the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye