Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Music Across the Generations -- Another Genealogical Tidbit To Consider Saving For Your Posterity (September 2, 2104)

Music seems to be important to every generation and in some cases it comes to define an era. Take the "Roaring Twenties" when Jazz became popular among blacks and whites and clubs in New Orleans, New York and Chicago were packed with people listening to the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few.  The 1930s  became known as the "Swing Era" and people swarmed to listen to Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Harry James and others.

Those of us who grew up in the 1960s recall the "British Invasion" and the bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Animals, The Who and on and on.

I was talking to my father recently and he recalled for me how he used to go to Lake Pearl Park in Wrentham, Massachusetts where he saw Glenn Miller among other bands. When he was at the Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, NY in the early 1940s he and others would go into New York City whenever they could. He saw Tommy Dorsey there and he saw Harry James playing at the Hotel Astor. He also recalled meeting Louis Armstrong and chatting with him for a few minutes when the two of them stepped between cars on a train going to New York from Providence in order to have a cigarette.  Mr. Armstrong came on in New Haven and they chatted while they caught a quick smoke.

This got me thinking about the live music I have seen over the years and whether some of the names and music I know as defining my youth will survive to be recognized by my ancestors. And so, since I follow the practice of Heather Rojo (Nutfield Genealogy blog) and others by periodically having my blog post published in a hardback book version for preservation purposes, I decided to compile a list of all the live music experiences I have had over the years.  The list appears below and is likely to grow somewhat as I recall some I have forgotten in this first attempt at a comprehensive list.

I wonder how many of these musicians will be known in another 100 years.  How many of us know the following songs?  Beautiful Dreamer; Oh! Susanna; Camptown Races; Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.  These songs were all written before their composer died at the very beginning of 1864.

How about the songs Alexander's Ragtime Band; Play A Simple Melody; Always; All By Myself; and Blue Skies?  All of these songs were written between 1910 and 1926, yet most of us would recognize them if we heard them even if we do not know them immediately by the titles.

So how many Stephen Fosters and Irving Berlins are in the list below?  A few no doubt . . . and perhaps my ancestors can listen to originals or covers of some of their music and think, "My great great grandfather saw him/her/them!"    

So here is my live music list for my posterity . . . 

Andy Williams                                                                         The Doors with Blue Cheer
Van Morrison                                                                           The Pentangle
Melanie                                                                                    John Mayall
Richie Havens                                                                          The Beach Boys +
Chicago                                                                                    Paul McCartney
Simon & Garfunkel with The Everly Brothers                        The Rolling Stones
Yes                                                                                            Jethro Tull
Bonnie Raitt                                                                             The Grateful Dead +
Tom Rush +                                                                              Peter Noon & Herman’s Hermits * +
Keb Mo                                                                                     Donovan
Ravi Shankar                                                                            Dar Williams
Three Dog Night *                                                                   The Association *
The Sub Dudes                                                                         Leon Redbone +
B.B. King                                                                                 Eric Clapton
James Taylor                                                                            Carole King +
k.d. Lang                                                                                  Albert King
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band                                 Norah Jones
The Moody Blues *                                                                 Mary Black
The High Kings                                                                       Bill Kirchen
Alan Jackson                                                                           Arlo Guthrie
Aztec Two Step                                                                       Candye Kane
Carsie Blanton                                                                         Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Dave Bromberg                                                                       Dana & Susan Robinson
Hot Soup                                                                                  John Prine
Sloan Wainwright                                                                    Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart
The Seldom Scene                                                                   Schooner Fare
John McCutcheon                                                                    Chad & Jeremy
Terry Sylvester of The Hollies                                                Billy J. Kramer
Mike Pender’s Searchers                                                         Denny Laine (of Wings)
Tom Paxton                                                                                   

+ indicates "seen live more than once."
*indicates a later version of the band was seen live 

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Photo of Dewey's History of Rock and Roll from the movie School House Rock.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. Great music list, and yes, I need to do something like this as well for the music of my growing up years! It's so easy to forget such a wonderful memory point for talking with family members. Thanks for the great reminder.

  2. You are very welcome Celia! Thank you for your comment -- greatly appreciated as always. I will look forward to seeing YOUR list!

  3. How I wish I listened more to music these days. I enjoyed your list, and looks like we both saw The Beach Boys several times. I have two that cancelled out at the very last moment, due to illness and war, Yanni and ABBA, fortunately I later saw Yanni, but not ABBA, so sad. Somebody on fb posted the link to Try to Remember by the Brothers Four and I played it over and over. For your enjoyment, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jV-fnarDho

    1. ABBA is one I never sw but wished I did. I good friend of mine is Swedish and I still recall him sending me a letter recommending I listen to ABBA. I did and have most of thier hits on my iPod. My two sons cringe whenever I play ABBA or pop in the DVD of "Mama Mia." -- so I do so as often as I can. ;-) Thank you for the link to "Try To Remember!" Good stuff!