Between 1920 and the mid 1950s, the orchestrated sounds of Jazz would take over the American commercial song market. Whether the light and breezy sounds of jazz bands during the 1920s and 1930s or the lush sounds of backing orchestras of the crooner years in the 1940s and early 1950s, this was an era marked by a certain style in both music and the celebrity achieved by success of recording artists in the music industry. This essay will explore the topics of the forthcoming Pop Song History essay series on the Jazz Era, including the various ways in which American social history, music trends, music technology and music industry collide to produce commercial success of titles, fads and trends of songs. Below are the sorts of subjects which will this blog will explore in detail in the forth coming series about the Jazz Era of Pop Song History.
Throughout the Jazz Era, American cultural and social history seems inextricably linked to each decade and this series will explore the changes in American society in association with the kind of songs Americans were listening to and purchasing. The 1920s would be the embodiment of the Roaring Twenties Jazz Age, flapper girls, Jazz babies and the mindset of American rebellion against the laws of Prohibition. It would also be a politically conservative time following Progressive Era reforms including seemingly endless speculation into investments and the stock market and by a Red Scare that had been “simmering just beneath the skin of American tolerance” during the early 1920s. By the early 1930s, the economic and social lives of most Americans were turned upside down imparted by a catastrophic financial collapse of the Great Depression, continued economic stagnation and a decade of government attempts to rebuild the American economy from the ashes of financial tumult. Those in the Great Plains would face environmental difficulties on agricultural life in the Plains due to an oppressive drought and the resulting Dust Bowl years. The 1940s would see the United States engaged in another World War just over twenty years after concluding the First World War. Fears of Communism would be characteristic of this time with an Iron Curtain of Soviet sphere of influence sweeping over Eastern Europe and the American paranoia of a nuclear stalemate of the Cold War with the Soviet Union; both sides stockpiling nuclear weapons and engaging in espionage. During the 1950s, financial security for many American brought an era and prosperity on a mass scale and helped to create the sort of consumerism characteristic of the modern American economy. The new mass culture of America in the 1950s would also produce angst among many children of the Jazz Era who would eventually embrace a new style of Rock and Roll music. All throughout these decades, jazz music and style would reign supreme on the music market.
The Jazz Era, from beginning to end, would be characterised by style, not just musically, but also in the fashions, art, and architecture of these decades. During the 1920s and 1930s, for example, a new simpler Art Deco style became popular in art, jewellery, graphic design, fashion and architecture, the aesthetics of which are more dictated by compositional design characteristic of straight lines rather than the flourishes and embellishments of the Art Nouveau period popular during the Ragtime Era. It was an era in which Jazz bands and their leaders took the stage wearing smart-looking tuxedos and suits and female singers donned au current fashions. Beginning with a trend in so-called “oriental numbers” describing the far-off lands that had perfectly suited the minor keys of early jazz; Jazz music would evolve into a carefully arranged and harmonised style of swing by 1935. By the end of the Jazz Era, Jazz music would transform from pop music phenomenon to the status of de facto American classical music and composers ranging from Duke Ellington to Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis to Charlie Parker are still renown for their compositions that transcend the relatively simple format of song. But not all music from the Jazz Era was explicitly jazzy. Traditional song styles of rural America like blues, country and folk music would get the commercial treatment and then transform to cultivated commercial pop song success. In the 1940s, there would be official charts measuring the nationwide popularity of songs; with R&B and Country charts documenting their respective commercial popularity by the end of the 1940s. While Jazz genre and styles associated with it are featured in the very name of the era, not everything released during this periods was about jazz.
Old methods of music production and recording pioneered during the Ragtime Era would fall by the wayside throughout the Jazz Era as new technology developed for recording and delivering music to consumers and audiences. The old business model of Tin Pan Alley song plugging from the stage would fall out of favour by the 1930s, when the theatre business slumped during the Great Depression and particularly when radio broadcasting music and variety programmes flourished. Movies musicals coming from the studios of Los Angeles found a mass audience nearly as soon as movies featured sound in the late 1920s and songs found popularity after their inclusion in movies. During this time, music business celebrity would transfer from songwriter to popular recording star or band leaders. Arranged orchestras and their bandleaders would remain popular up until the mid 1940s, thereafter, a music industry awash in popular crooners took over the music market throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. New record labels like Okeh, Capitol, Brunswick and Decca would come onto the market and challenge older established names like Victor and Columbia, some of these new labels releasing niche specialty music that would eventually find pop success. Record companies faced the changing realities of music broadcasting when radio and eventually television brought new music directly in the homes of Americans for free. But perhaps the greatest transformation of music industry during this era was the transformation from acoustic recording and playback to electronics. It was a time period in which new inventions like speakers, radio, microphones created a much higher fidelity music product than the acoustic methods of the phonograph. Throughout the Jazz Era, technological advancement continued to bring new products and recording techniques to the music market, but this advancement also brought changes in the music market when broadcasting began to delivery music directly into the home of potential music consumers.
Just as interesting as it is to investigate the trends and changes in the music industry during the Jazz Era, it is also interesting to note who is recording the music and providing the product to consumers. Throughout the era, the home piano would become something of a relic and Americans would continue to opt for purchasing pre-recorded music rather than producing it themselves at home with sheet music. Obviously, the most associated musicians of the time were band leaders and the various orchestras of the jazz and swing periods. Also prominent throughout this period in relation to jazz proper was the “age of the Soloist”  in which talented instrumentalists and scat vocalists showed their skills by improvising on melodies, a staple of the early New Orleans Jazz scene going as far back as the 1890s. Also during this time, the feature, a common method of song construction in the twenty-first century Club Banger Era, in which rappers are featured on pop tunes and pop singers on hip-hop tracks, would debut in the jazz era through the employment of a crooner, like Gene Austin or Bing Crosby, who would provide the accompanying vocals of jazz band orchestras. Perhaps even more telling about this time period in America commercial history is the increasingly important role of the African American musician and composer, with various race records featuring the voices of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters and the jazz performances of Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton gaining mass commercial popularity. The new development of sound and music accompanying movies would produce movie stars like Fred Astaire and Judy Garland owning their place in pop song history with tremendously successful songs. Individuals recording the music would achieve their own level of celebrity and by the late 1940s, crooners would be national stars and media staples of radio, film and television.
How people get music will also be explored throughout this series on the Jazz Era. With the wax cylinder in a precipitous decline throughout the 1910s, the disc record, and particular the 78rpm disc, would remain the dominant format throughout three decades. Discs would remain the favoured method for hard-copy music and in the late 1940s, a format battle would take place between companies developing the 45rpm single and those producing the long play record, a format which would bring the album prominence that dominated the music industry of the subsequent Rock and Roll Era. How music fits in with social spaces is also a theme which this series will explore. Films, talkies and movie musicals would proliferate the 1930s and 1940s and songs would pop from this new technological development. With the rise of the 45 single, the Jukebox would come into social spaces in much the same way that the phonograph did in the early 1890s, but the Jukebox would allow the consumer to choose the title with the jukebox’s large capacity to hold records. But hard copy music was not the only methods by which music consumers had access to music and broadcasting would come of age during the Jazz Era, music plugging would be achieved through radio and television broadcasts. Beginning with radio in the 1920s, which allowed people access to news, radio variety shows and music delivered directly to the home of audiences for free, and the new era of broadcasting would challenge the status quo of music licensing law once again. Eventually in the 1950s, popular nationally broadcast television programmes like the Lawrence Welk Show also brought music into people’s home, and thanks to sponsorship and advertising, this would also be for free. Throughout the Jazz Era, how consumers had access to music also shows the changes in the music industry and such topics will be explored as well during this series of Pop Song History.
Indeed, this period in pop song history had some of the most spectacular changes in the social, technological, business and song trends of any period in American history. As well, some of the most beloved songs, which have become standards in the American song catalogue were released and recorded during the Jazz Era. The list of songs recorded and written between 1920 and 1954, the so-called “golden age of American song,” that have become well-loved standards is lengthy and includes some influential titles like Swanee, Song of India, Down Hearted Blues, California Here I Come, Tea for Two, Sweet Georgia Brown, My Blue Heaven, Cheek to Cheek, Paper Doll, Over the Rainbow, Brother Can You Spare a Dime?, Night and Day, Stormy Weather, Pennies from Heaven, A Fine Romance, A-Tisket A-Tasket, In the Mood, A String of Pearls, Begin the Beguine, Don’t Fence Me In, Beer Barrel Polka, Tuxedo Junction, and a score of other popular song titles, including the most popular and most commercially successful song in American history, White Christmas. The Pop Song History blog will explore this golden period of commercial song history and provide a number of interesting essays about the Jazz Era in the months to come. Stay tuned…
Bindas, Kenneth J. Swing, That Modern Sound. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press. 2001.
Burg, Daniel F. The Great Depression: An Eyewitness History. New York: Facts on File. 1996.
Carlton, Don E. Red Scare: Right Wing Hysteria, Fifties Fanaticism and Their Legacy in Texas. Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press. 1985.
Furia, Philip. The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America’s Great Lyricists. New York: Oxford University Press. 1990.
Gioia, Ted. The History of Jazz, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. 2011.
Taintor, Callie. “Chronology: Technology and the Music Industry.” PBS.org. Accessed 10 November 2014. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/inside/cron.html.
Tindall, George Brown and David Emory Shi. America: A Narrative History, 8th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2010.
 Don E. Carlton, Red Scare: Right Wing Hysteria, Fifties Fanaticism and Their Legacy in Texas, (Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press, 1985), 135.
 George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi, America: A Narrative History, 8th ed, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 1244.
 Kenneth J Bindas, Swing, that Modern Sounds, (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2001), 3.
 Daniel F. Burg, The Great Depression: An Eyewitness History, (New York: Facts on File, 1996), 74-75.
 Callie Taintor, “Chronology: Technology and the Music Industry,” PBS.org, Frontline, accessed 10 November 2014, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/inside/cron.html.
 Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz, 2nd ed, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 53.
 Taintor, “Chronology: Technology and the Music Industry.”
 Philip Furia, Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America’s Great Lyricists, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 117.
Between 1900 and 1917, the music business had transformed from reliance on plugging a song by singing it “as loudly as possible in the city’s lowest dives,” to create and commercialize popular songs on a national scale. The old days of the Ragtime Era reflected a music business culture that was still in its infancy. But by 1917, Tin Pan Alley songwriters and publishing houses had become multimillion dollar industries with titles regularly selling over a million copies of sheet music. The new world of Tin Pan Alley was an efficient factory that produced hit songs, but, judging from the songs that had been published between 1916 and 1918, this factory consistently produced a stylistically homogenous product. Underneath the war production fervour that had taken over the music business, sentimental ballads, oftentimes the sorts of waltzes that had been pop gold in the 1890s before the Ragtime craze hit the music market, became hits once again in the mid-1910s, this trend also included Dixie ballads featuring lullabies, mother ballads and wistful characters eager to go back to the south, rather than the caricatures that had been prominent during the days of Ragtime. While the pop music market had stagnated in topic, a new kind of music, Jazz, a style that had been popular throughout New Orleans as early as 1890, would make its mass-market debut. Consequently, the new genre gained favour with the Tin Pan Alley song machine; Jazz became the latest and freshest musical product on the scene for music consumers, officially marking the end to what was left of the Ragtime Era. Capping off these ongoing musical changes came a Prohibition law that outlawed alcohol, a news event that would eventually become synonymous with the pop culture of the Jazz Era and the 1920s.
Understanding the business environment of music industry adds a greater depth of knowledge about how commercial pop music is created and popularized throughout the decades. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries during the Ragtime Era, most songs to become sheet music hits were created in the offices of Tin Pan Alley, a one block strip of West 28th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue in Manhattan’s notorious Tenderloin district. Nicknamed “Satan’s Circus,” the Tenderloin was a “shabby city enclave” of “Tammany police-protected vice” that included gambling halls, saloons, bare-knuckled boxing matches, and more than 100 whorehouses. Tin Pan Alley and the businesses of the surrounding neighbourhood supported each other in a somewhat symbiotic relationship. With Tin Pan Alley inundated with an endless stream of musicians and performers in search of new material for their acts during the 1890s, many of the saloons, pool halls, gambling houses, restaurants and local vaudeville theatres profited from the increased traffic. Music firms awash in new money and wary of the tumultuous banking system of the 1890s often used Tenderloin gambling houses as local banks. Publisher Edward Banks, partner in the Joe Stern Music Company, deposited large sums of cash at Shang Draper’s Gambling House on a regular basis, leaving as much as $800,000 in the first floor safe. Plugging in the theatres of the Tenderloin and Bowery was the main form of advertising during these years and it required skilled knowledge of the area’s nightspots and a gruelling weekly schedule of promotion in up to sixty venues per week. In one evening, Edward Marks visited five theatres to promote a single song, plying singers, musicians and theatre staff with rounds of beer for the hopes that a popular stage star would choose to introduce his title to the audience. The song’s chorus, the main component that insured a song’s success, had been reinforced in the ears and minds of theatregoers with the aid of a paid whistler and note cards distributed to each table in each establishment including the lyrics of the song’s refrain . All of this plugging took place while trying to avoid the myriad of other composers and publishers using these same tactics in the same theatres night after night. If successful, the network of plugs would produce sales by word of mouth or interpolation into another stage act; if unsuccessful, composers simply moved on to the next title to promote. Although initially crude, the music business by 1917, after the end of the Ragtime Era, the business environment for music publishing had become an industry.
By the end of the Ragtime Era, the pop song business and the geography of its old neighbourhood had changed significantly. The old notions of Vaudeville touring and Ragtime were quaint in the multi-million dollar music and theatre industries of the late 1910s. City officials eager to clean up the area’s reputation targeted the characteristically raucous pop culture incubator that was the Tenderloin district and many property development projects approved throughout the 1900s and 1910s eventually swallowed entire city blocks of the neighbourhood. In 1910, the grandiose Penn Station occupied two whole blocks of the old Tenderloin; in 1914, the US Post Office Building took another block, as did retailers like Rogers-Peet Department Store and the city’s largest hotel of the time, the Hotel Pennsylvania opening in 1919. As the vaudeville circuit waned in the Tenderloin and the Bowery, audiences were attracted to musicals and spectacular revues debuting on Broadway further to the north of the neighbourhood. The music industry expanded beyond Tin Pan Alley, including recording studios and Broadway offices. The publishing industry matured into “a well-organized, efficient factory, capable of producing songs on every conceivable subject on an assembly belt.” Nearly three decades of operation brought up a crop of composers raised and trained in the music business, well-versed in all the composition and lyrical formulas and promotional techniques. New schemes of profiting were on the rise like tune filtching, lifting a classical composer’s tunes for one’s advantage, the most famous instance being Harry Carroll’s “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” from 1917, a million-selling tune whose melody had been directly lifted from Frédéric Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu in C Sharp Minor. During the war and the topical profusion of war songs, “Alleyites blushed to speak of less than seven figures,” remembers music publisher Edward B. Marks. Composers had become national celebrities. Irving Berlin, by 1919, relishing in the profits of nearly $200,000 from his own publishing firm, was his own brand and industry; stores featured special sections in music departments showcasing his most popular tunes. Music licensing and distribution of royalties had been brought to the Supreme Court in 1917 and ASCAP, a group formed to insure performance and recording royalties would eventually pay over $200,000 in royalties by 1923. By 1917, the business environment, in both geographic and financial terms, had changed considerably in Tin Pan Alley and the Tenderloin that had fostered the growth of the music business.
With the music business intensely focused on mass production, including war songs, sentimentality became a unifying theme on the pop song market and in some of the most popular songs during the years between Ragtime and Jazz Eras. While 1917 and 1918 would see a music industry in the throes of production of war songs, beneath this topical current of pop culture and music, songs not about the war turned sentimental in nature compared to the happy escapism of Ragtime syncopated rags that had gone out of fashion as early as 1912, according to Gilbert Chase. With a wave of war songs gracing the talking machines and piano rolls of Americans, the sentimental ballad and particularly the waltz, a form that had been Tin Pan Alley’s signature composition during the 1890s, became popular once again with prominent themes of nostalgia and sadness offered for audiences and music consumers. Two of the most successful and biggest-selling titles of these years, Harry Carroll and Joseph McCarthy’s “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and Jaan Kenbrovin and William Kellette’s “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” feature characters who are dreamily pessimistic about the relative trajectories of their lives:
At the end of the rainbow there’s happiness
And to find it how often I’ve tried,
But life is a race just a wild goose chase,
And my dreams have all been denied.
Why have I always been a failure?
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” mirrors this sentimentality: “I’m forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air/They fly so high nearly reach the sky/Then like my dreams they fade and die.” Nostalgia for a long-ended relationship is featured in the Pete Wendling song “Oh! What a Pal Was Mary,” a song that relays feelings of melancholy with a character who woefully remembers a long-lost childhood friend. The short verses of Neil Moret and Sindey Carter’s torch song “Yearning” feature turn-of-the century bucolic, romantic imagery and lachrymose tones about pining for another lover, “There’s a sadness in the tone Of the woodbird’s song/All the gladness, dear, has flown While for you I long/In the lonely garden, too, Roses droop and die.” The Heath, Lange, and Solman song “In the Sweet Long Ago” is particularly nostalgic for the “old-fashioned ways” and a character pines, “Can’t you bring back the old-fashioned melodies, mother and daddy used to know.” With most of the songs coming out of Tin Pan Alley during this time between Ragtime and Jazz were about the war, topics had been homogenous among the factories of publishing firms and a well-known product, the sentimental ballad, made a notable and profitable return to the pop song mass market.
The propagation of sentimental ballads during the years of the First World War would not, however, impede the American taste for songs about the South, or more precisely Dixie, a notable trend lacing together many of the best known Coon songs of the Ragtime Era. However, such Dixie songs published between 1916 and 1918 continued the sentimental nature of the Tin Pan Alley production machine; the happy escapism of earlier syncopated Dixie songs had been replaced by wistful Dixie lullabies, mother ballads, and, of course, waltzes. Such Dixie songs would not be about the caricatures of the south, but rather nostalgic visions of returning back home and particularly, one’s mother. “The Missouri Waltz (Hush-a-Bye Ma Baby)” would become a million-seller after lullaby lyrics about an adult being comforted to sleep by mother were added in 1916 by J.R. Shannon: “Hush-a-bye ma baby, go to sleep on Mammy’s knee/Journey back to Dixieland in dreams again with me,” read the lyrics. Another sentimental Dixie song and Al Jolson stage vehicle, Jean Schwartz, Sam Lewis and Joe Young’s “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” also copies this trend with similar lyrics, about going back home to Dixie and being lulled to sleep through song. “I’m All Bound Round for the Mason-Dixon Line” tells the story of a lad going back home to see his mother while remembering his childhood in lyrics like “When I was younger I knew ever lane/Now I hunger to be once again Back where the robin keeps throbbin’ pretty melodies.” Another song brought to the stage and popularized by Al Jolson, “Ain’t You Coming Back to Dixieland?” features a boy reading a letter from his “Mammy down in sunny Tennessee,” who asks when he is coming back home to the south. The topic about the South, such a prominent feature of the earlier Ragtime Era, had also experienced the factory treatment of Tin Pan Alley and consequently, such Dixie songs published between 1916 and 1918 would follow the return of sentimental ballads and waltzes to the music market during this time, and the trend was so strong that even lullabies were becoming part of the pop culture character of these years.
Despite the schmaltz and war production taking over Tin Pan Alley throughout 1917 and 1918, the music-purchasing public were slowly turning their collective attention to a new music called Jazz. In 1917, the first Jazz recording became a million-seller; “Tiger Rag” by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band would start a style transformation in the music industry that would become the Jazz Era characteristic of the 1920s. Characterized as “a steady beat overlaid with the three lines of lead instruments,” “Tiger Rag” and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, fresh off a tremendous amount of buzz from their 1916 performances at Reisenweber’s Restaurant in New York after relocating from Chicago, became the freshest thing on the music market during 1917. Recording for Victor, after managers at Columbia shelved the original recordings, the song vaulted the Original Dixieland Jazz Band to the status of celebrity. It is important to note, however, that while “Tiger Rag” was their original recording, it was not necessarily their original composition. With the history of Jazz in New Orleans less rigid than that of Tin Pan Alley publishing, the ability to compose or read music was not a prerequisite talented early jazz musicians to produce music; consequently, borrowing or improvising on themes and melodies between musicians was common; such was the case for “Tiger Rag.” There has been some dispute about the precise origins of “Tiger Rag;” Bunk Johnson notes that King Buddy Bolden used the first eight bars of the song to introduce quadrilles on Storyville dance floors in 1894, “Had Bolden knew music,” reflects Johnson, “probably Bolden would have made ‘Tiger Rag.’” While David Ewen credits Jelly Roll Morton with creating “Tiger Rag” in the 1900s, experts have proven that “Tiger Rag” is most likely attributed to The Jack Carey Band and the song had various monikers like “Jack Carey” used by black musicians and “Nigger #2” by white performers. “Tiger Rag” was not the only such jazz standard to make the pop charts, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band regularly brought other standards from the New Orleans Jazz scene into pop market in the late 1910s like “At the Jazz Band Ball” and “The Original Dixieland One-Step,” a song plagiarized from Joe Jordan’s “Teasin’ Rag.” Their celebrity not just woke up a profitable yet stylistically stagnated song market, it also changed the playlists of traditional jazz musicians working the Jazz circuit. Musician Jack Weber remembers that jazz bands on riverboats could no longer play well-established jazz melodies since The Original Jazz Band popularized them on record for mass audiences. With a song market awash in sentimentality, a new sound pioneered by “Tiger Rag,” would simultaneously trigger a change in the music market of pop song during the late 1910s.
The sudden arrival Jazz in the music market brought an eagerness by Tin Pan Alley publishers to profit from the new vocabulary and included it in various ways on the covers and in the lyrics of sheet music. The trend became so noticeable that The Literary Digest in 1917 noted that “a strange word has gained widespread use…it is ‘jazz,” used mainly as an adjective descriptive of a band.” An early pop use of the Jazz name actually came in 1916, when stage star Sophie Tucker, always looking for fresh material and variety for her stage shows, introduced a back-up Jazz band, the Kings of Syncopation, and heralded herself as the “Queen of Jazz.” Terry Teachout notes that before “Tiger Rag” came onto record Jazz had never been out of New Orleans or Chicago and so a new music market had opened up for the new and unfamiliar music that would have stood out in a music scene awash in war songs and sentimental ballads. Some tunes popular in the 1890s and early 1900s had been invigorated to fit into the new genre like Arthur Pryor’s 1899 hit “A Coon Band Contest,” a song that had been modernized in 1918 as a “Jazz Foxtrot.”  But Tin Pan Alley composers and lyricists would take a much more matter-of-fact approach, by literally introducing audiences to Jazz in the lyrics of songs. The Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 included “I Want to Learn How to ‘Jazz’ Dance,” a number plainly introducing audiences to the Jazz brand by describing a girl who wants to try new dances associated with the genre. Of course, tunesmith Irving Berlin, keen on using any kind of new trend to his advantage to create a commercial hit, published “Mr. Jazz Himself,” plainly introducing audiences to the new music by characterising the genre as someone to meet,
Shake hands with Mister Jazz himself!
He knows a strange sort of change in a minor key,
I don’t know how he does it But when he starts to play the blues
He’s like the messenger of happy news;
Jazz’s success “put an end to what was left of the Ragtime craze, for other bands rushed to record a similar style” and throughout the 1920s, Jazz bands and composers would come to dominate the pop song market. In the late 1910s and early 1920s when the First World War and eventually Prohibition shut down the saloons and brothels of New Orleans’s Storyville district, the cradle for jazz for over three decades, jazz musicians like Joe “King” Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong relocated north, giving a much larger audience exposure to Jazz musicians. After Jazz became a new vocabulary word on the music market, it became part of the Tin Pan Alley machine by introducing people to the new change in popular music and with a market languishing in sentiment, customers were likely receptive of this change in music.
Besides the music, The Jazz Era would also be inseparable with the cultural consequences that accompanied Prohibition, a law outlawing alcohol enacted by the 18th Amendment to the constitution in 1919 and its enforcement one year later. As soon as the Constitutional amendment and the Volstead Act that allowed its enforcement had been ratified, Joe Stern, a Tin Pan Alley publisher since the 1890s, retired believing that the song market would implode with the lack of alcohol. The effects of Prohibition on the entertainment industry had been discussed when the legislation had been debated in Congress, it was logical for politicians to think that with households saving money by abstaining from alcohol, music consumers would purchase theatre tickets and sheet music for the home. Called by Edward Marks as “one outstanding error and farce of the century,” Prohibition initially inspired a series of topical and comical songs written by composers and lyricists thumbing their noses at the law. The Ziegfeld Follies of 1919 opened its summer season with a mock funeral march featuring an enormous whiskey bottle accompanied by Irving Berlin’s “You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake On Tea.” Playful song titles came onto the pop market like “It’s the Smart Little Feller Who Stocked Up His Cellar (That’s Getting the Beautiful Girls),” “What Are You Going to Do to Wet Your Whistle (When the Whole Darn World Goes Dry),” “A Syncopated Cocktail” and “Everybody Wants a Key to My Cellar.” Entertainment spaces that traditionally profited from the combined effects of alcohol and music in their environs were forced to adjust. Some hotels and restaurants closed their elaborate bars and dance floors and transformed such spaces into cafeterias, eventually “hotel dining rooms virtually disappeared since much of their trade depended on the convenience for lodgers of their bar and dining room.” But the Prohibition years would not completely snuff out drinking in America, in fact cities would become epicentres of “bootlegging, distilling and imbibing.” For entertainment purposes, Prohibition created the social spaces that one associates with the rebellious nature of Jazz music in the 1920s. Drinking during the Jazz Era would go underground in cellars, private parties, basements, and speakeasies albeit with more expensive bootleg liquor where anyone with the financial means could get “stewed to the balls.” Enforcement of the Volstead Act was lax and enforcement officers sometimes could be easily bribed with money or liquor. In one establishment, bribes were a regular occurrence, seeing enforcement officers “eating dinner, having a few drinks and picking up some cash [i.e., a bribe] if he needed it.” Just as Jazz was becoming a new trend with music publishers and record companies, Prohibition would establish the social nature of music by driving drinking below the legal radar and its soundtrack would composed of Jazz music throughout the 1920s.
The later years of the 1910s had been a transformative time period for composers and publishers producing commercial pop songs. The old days of the Tenderloin and Bowery theatres where songs were ruthlessly plugged were distant memories in the multi-million dollar music industry where tunes and lyrics were mass-produced in formulaic methods. Popular songs during these years reverted to sentimental ballads, including many Dixie songs that, in the past would be replete with caricatures and humours, turned sentimental by 1916. Precluding the war songs that had also been manufactured by the composers and publishers of Tin Pan Alley, the sentimental trend and the stagnated market of sadness, nostalgia and maternal wistfulness produced titles that sold millions of copies like “Hush-a-Bye Ma Baby (Missouri Waltz),” “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” or “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Simultaneously, a new style called Jazz had abruptly attracted the attention of music consumers with the popularity of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s “Tiger Rag,” a song that had long been a New Orleans standard. With an unremarkable yet tremendously prosperous pop song market and a new genre on the horizon, song composers and publishers quickly included the word on many titles. Also during this time, Prohibition had been added to the Constitution, a law which would become synonymous with the Jazz Era of the 1920s. Even though the song market had become monotonous in war and ballad production, Jazz was becoming a new product to sell to consumers eager for something new to listen to and Jazz would become the major pop style for over twenty years in the United States.
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Heath, Bobby, Arthur Lange and Alfred Solman. In the Sweet Long Ago. New York: Joe
Morris Music Co. 1916.
Kenbrovin, Jaan and John William Kellette. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles. New York: Jerome H Remick & Co. 1919.
Moret, Neil (music) and Sidney Carter (lyrics). Yearning. New York: T.B. Harms & Francis, Day & Hunter. 1919.
Pryor, Arthur. A Coon Band Contest. New York: Emil Ascher. 1899/1918.
Schwartz, Jean (music) and Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young (lyrics). I’m All Bound ‘Round with the Mason Dixon Line. New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co. 1917.
——-. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody. New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co. 1918.
Stamper, Dave (music) and Gene Buck (lyrics). I Want to Learn to “Jazz” Dance. New York: T.B. harms & Francis, Day & Hunter. 1918.
Wendling, Pete (music) and Edgar Leslie and Bert Kalmar (lyrics). Oh! What a Pal Was Mary. New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder. 1919.
Whiting, Richard A. (music) and Raymond Egan (lyrics). Ain’t You Coming Back to Dixieland. New York: Jerome H. Remick & Co. 1917.
 Edward B Marks, They All Sang: From Tony Pastor to Rudy Valée, (New York: The Viking Press, 1934), 3.
 Jill Jonnes, Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: the Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels, (New York: Viking, 2007), 72.
 Ibid, 67.
 David Freeland, Automats, Taxi Dances and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure, (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 122.
 Marks, 4.
 Freeland, 125.
 Ibid, 124.
 Jonnes, 299.
 David Ewen, Panorama of American Popular Music, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1957), 29.
 Gilbert Chase, America’s Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present, (New York: McGraw-Hill Company, 1966), 201.
 Marks, 200.
 Chase, 179.
 Ibid, 193.
 Ibid, 148.
 Harry Carroll (music) and Joseph McCarthy (lyrics), I’m Always Chasing Rainbows, (New York: McCarthy & Fisher Inc, 1918).
 Jaan Kenbrovin and John William Kellette, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, (New York: Kendis-Brockman Music Co, 1919).
 Pete Wendling (music) and Edgar Leslie and Bert Kelmar (lyrics), Oh! What a Pal Was Mary, (New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder, 1919).
 Neil Moret (music) and Sidney Carter (lyrics), Yearning, (New York: T.B. harms & Francis, Day & Hunter, 1918).
 Bobby Heath, Arthur Lange and Alfred Solman, In the Sweet Long Ago, (New York: The Joe Morris Music Co, 1916).
 John Valentine Eppel (music) and J.R. Shannon (lyrics) arranged by Frederic Knight Logan, Hush-a-Bye Ma Baby (Missouri Waltz), (Chicago, IL: F.J.A. Foster, 1914).
 Jean Schwartz (music) and Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young (lyrics), Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody, (New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co, 1918).
 Jean Schwartz (music) and Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young (lyrics), I’m All Bound ‘Round with the Mason Dixon Line, (New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co, 1917).
 Richard A. Whiting (music) and Raymond Egan (lyrics), Ain’t You Coming Back to Dixieland, (New York: Jerome H. Remick & Co, 1917).
 Frank Tirro, Jazz: A History, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1977), 167.
 Dan Morgenstern, Living with Jazz: A Reader, Sheldon Meyer, ed, (New York: Panteoen Books, 2004), 527.
 Bunk Jonson, qtd in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told by the Men Who Made It, Shapiro, Nat and Nat Hentoff, ed, (New York: Dover Publications, 1955), 36.
 Tirro, 170.
 Terry Waldo, This Is Ragtime, (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc, 2009), 128.
 Jack Weber, qtd in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya, 60.
 Chase, 465.
 Stewart, 171.
 Terry Teachout, Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington, (New York: Gotham Books, 2013), 36.
 Pryor, Arthur, A Coon Band Contest, (New York: Emil Archer, 1918).
 Dave Stamper (music) and Gene Buck (lyrics), I Want to Learn to “Jazz” Dance, (New York: T.B. harms & Francis, Day & Hunter, 1918).
 Irving Berlin, Mr Jazz Himself, (New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co, 1917).
 Teachout, 37.
 Tirro, 157.
 Marks, 200.
 Ibid, 200.
 Ibid, 199.
 Mark Caldwell, New York Night: The Mystique and Its History, (New York: Scribner, 2005), 222.
 Harvey Green, The Uncertainty of Everyday Life, 1915-1945, (New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 168.
 Green, 214-215.
 Caldwell, 222
 Gloria Wandrous, qtd in Freeland, 156.
 Luis Russell qtd in Freeland, 157.