Today’s Cover Story

Ok, yes
it’s been a
while since
we had some
blog-o-tastic
fun with vintage
song sheets…

(here’s a
previous
post on the
subject)

so,
maybe today
we’ll see what
fun stuff that
we have in the
archives that
hasn’t been
posted here yet.

It’s pretty much
a passe thing
today, but there
was quite a
large, profitable
market for
sheet music
and song sheets
in the early part
of the 20th century.

These days,
we have
recorded
music being
utilized just
about
everywhere….

But, back then,
notwithstanding
the very limited and
unsatisfying quality
of musical recordings
as they slowly became
available, most people,
well into the 1930’s,
preferred music that
was performed live –
in restaurants, bars,
cabarets, burlesques,
strip joints, band shells,
speakeasies, carnivals,
medicine shows, revivals,
yes, even at the movie
theatre.

A large percentage
of educated people
in the U.S. and Britain
played at least one
instrument at the time,
and that usually meant
folks had plenty of sheet
music to go with it.

Song sheets
proliferated
in every musical
genre, from John
Philip Sousa style
marches,
all the way up
and down the
scales –

— blues,
gospel,
classical pieces,
tangos,
folk songs,
and operettas,
to ragtime
jazz.

The large publishing
houses that printed
music in New York
City were collectively
called
” Tin Pan Alley “,
and you still
occasionally
hear that phrase
used today…..

but before the
rise of radio and
the phonograph,
it’s hard to imagine
just how essential
these early publishers
were to the period’s
culture and
entertainment.

I personally
especially
treasure the ones
that had an
interesting or
suggestive theme
or illustration on
the cover —

— or feature music
written for an
unusual instrument
like the ukelele or
the contra-bassoon.

But believe me,
suggestive covers
were effective in
selling more
sheet music
than the
potential
hit songs inside
them ever did. 

There was a lot
of very good
music being
written
and published,
of course –

– but there were
also a lot of songs
that wouldn’t
seem to have been
worth the price
of printing –
except for
the novelty
aspect of them.

And of course,
that’s what
got them
featured on
today’s
Muscleheaded Blog,
cause we love
a little novelty
around here.

!!! HOY !!!

.

 

 

 

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