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Thomas and George - and how important they are

October 31, 2017

So in the beginning there was Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Folk music. This of course is all true, but when we look back over the years, what is the most important and influential single thing that launched the early days of pop music? What was THE most influential moment in the history of this stuff?

 

Some say it was Elvis bringing black music to white people. Some say it was the Beatles writing pop songs that the whole world loved. No, the most important man in the history of pop music is without doubt Thomas Edison. He invented the record player.

 

Until then, music was not recorded, musicians learnt songs from each other, and they got changed and re-arranged, lyrics changed, tunes altered, popular songs were bought and sold via sheet music only.

Many people have their own opinion on the most important influential years in the history of Western popular music:

 

Some say the 1950's - the birth of rock'n'roll, others say the Sixties with its teenage liberation, some might say the 70's with Disco and Punk and music festivals. Plenty of people say the 80's and the digital revolution. Plenty will no doubt say the internet revolutionised music like nothing before. Of course they are all wrong. But you knew I was going to say that.

 

The most important years in the history of pop music are 1900-1920. This is when the big four musical styles really kicked off, thanks mainly to the record player. The other important thing was the rise in popularity of the guitar. A classical only instrument, invented hundreds of years ago in the middle east, and via the Egyptian empire it spread to Spain where they crafted the acoustic guitar into the shape we know today, this was brought to America by the European settlers and then exported back to the rest of the world via popular music soon after its popularity exploded in the beginning of the 20th century through recorded music.

 

We mustn't forget classical music of course, whose influence is always there and thereabouts. Andres Segovia almost single handedly popularised the classical acoustic guitar during his long and prolific touring life. Ok, that's quite enough about classical music.

 

The Blues musicians and folk musicians realised the guitar was cheap, easy to play, portable and thanks to the recording process, a lot more accessible to listen to. Then in 1931 George Beauchamp invented the electric guitar. Rock and Roll!!!!!!

 

Actually it wasn't rock and roll at all. It was Jazz. Jazz guitarists could finally be heard over the din of all the other wind and brass instruments. Blues guitarists too plugged in the new invention and live music was never the same again.

 

So far I have jabbering on about the history bit, which I find really interesting and gives context to everything that happened after. We can now start getting into the nitty gritty; the songs, the stars, the stories and where it all started for your wrinkly old Dad.

"It's only rock'n'roll, but I like it"- Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

 

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