• Stepping Stones Kottla

A Happy Music Generation

By Ellen Grönholm.



A war with mass-murders. The killing of over 15 million men. WW1 left the world in shock as the new military technology had left so many casualties. The war left people without hope, broken and angry. The solution to this was entertainment. Under the 1920’s the entertainment industry flowered. This both because of Ford's new invention of the ' production line’, a machine of mass production, and the situation of the people. Ford’s invention made it possible to mass-produce objects like cars and clothes. These may help with raising the morale of people, but what really helped to raise morale at the time were all the dance clubs and cinemas, 1923 sound movies even came. This was thereafter converted into radios, gramophones and so forth. Products like these were mass-produced and could be sold on installment or credit. Clearly the 1920s hosted for much development in the entertainment industry. Both clothes, stuff, cinema and especially music changed and helped with the morale of people.

But if ‘especially music’ developed, what happened to the music? To begin with a whole new style of music. Things like dance clubs and discos were created. People went to shows with dancers. Music was upbeat and sounded happy, making it easy to dance to and worthy to listen to at fancy places. At this time you could also buy music to listen to at home on a gramophone, or just turn on the radio. With the new invention of Ford, everyone could own a gramophone. To be able to sell many records made it worth being a musician, leading to many outbreaks of people who wrote and played music.


Another Thing in the development of music, is the music. Musicians like Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Cantor got known during the 1920s. With songs like West End Blues, Willie the Weeper, Makin' Whoopee!, and You'd Be Surprised from these three and songs like Down Hearted Blues and In the Jailhouse Now, you can hear music of all the bigger genres under the 1920s, the genres Blues, Dance, Country and Jazz. These were also the Genres that lead to Swing. A style you can begin to find and see in the songs in the late 20’s.

Hot 100: Top 20 1980s Hits”, “20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1980s ” or “Top 100 Hits of 1980/Top 100 Songs of 1980 ” The titels just continue. When thinking about the 1980’s many of the younger generation think about music. Music is a big part of the decade. The music genres from the 70’s stayed to the beginning of the 80’s and genres like pop, hip hop/rap, new wave, hair metals, rock become bigger. Under these genres are smaller subgenres. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Public Enemy, Run DMC, The Bangles, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen are bigger artists under this time, artists from all of the bigger genres. And these artists are only a few of the thousands of people who became famous. There were even a thousand more artists whose songs became hits. There were also a lot of old artists, that were forgotten, that began playing music again. They took a new approach to music and started again. Becoming popular. Diana Ross, Cher, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney are examples of people who updated looks, music or both to get another decade of fame. Another type of artists were ‘New Pop Superstars’.


There are always new Pop Stars, but now people became superstars. With the help of amongst other MTV(more on that later), these superstars were even more known than the average star. They were mascots, idols. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Prince all these superstars created styles, fashion, talents and personas that people worship. Under the 1980’s there were a lot of artists who made a single that became known and then just dropped. Gotye with ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is an example of an artist with only one hit. A reason this could be is the development in technology. The technology in the 1980’s expanded in a way making it more available to all. In the USA companies like Apple and Microsoft grew and became more accessible. Computers also became cheaper and more accessible. I guess that this is the reason that more one time hits came. There were more platforms to spread songs on so they became known. If I find a good song I may send it to my brother to listen to. Then my brother would listen to it, but we would not listen to more of the artist's songs, only that one hit. I think that that is what happened under the 1980’s. This, however, didn’t happen in Europe. For Europe this evolution happened in the 90’s. Another development of music and technology, that happened in the USA and later in Europe, was MTV. MTV, Music TeleVision, was founded in the USA in 1981 and became big fast. MTV was a television channel where music videos were played. This leads to a more wide spread knowledge of music and their music videos. MTV came to Europe in the mid 80’s and was a huge success. My mom remembers how she and her friends were impressed by the idee of music videos, a thing that never was heard about before. It became a ting to actually watch videos, those cool videos on tv. My mother also remembers how she and her friends played on gameboys and in arcades. Things like entertainment flowered for the second time in history. Due to heavy inflation, many families had become a bit richer and it, in contrast to today, became a ‘trend’ to spend. This is a development of the decade, not only for the music.

When reading these, you must have noticed the simelies between these two periods. Under both these times the economy grew and there was inflation. People had money to buy materials and stuff, stuff that may not be necessary, but why not. When people had money pay entertainment grew. In the 1920’s theaters, dance clubs and shows became big. In the 1080’s videos and sharing of music became big. Video games or sound films also grew depending on which decade you were in. For both these times though, when entertainment grew, it grew in different styles and ways. In the 20’s there was Jazz, which didn’t really stay in the 80’s. While in the 80’s pop became really big, pop that didn’t really exist during the 20’s. And not only did music genres change, the way music was portrayed changed, from dance bars to videos. And in the 20’s music was mostly upbeat, but in the 80’s there was a wider variation. The clothing changed too and in the 80’s people could have shows containing clothes with less coverage. But sadly both these happy, rich periods ended with a crash. The 20’s crash was a lot bigger with a period of world depression after, while the 80’s crash was smaller. In the end though, both these two periods were filled with developments and entertainment. Happy people with less care in the world. A style not so bad to live in.