The American Ballad Essay

Submitted By juliaemartin
Words: 683
Pages: 3

The American Ballad

At the end of World War II, the United States returned to daily life, almost unaffected by the war. The US was the only major industrial nation that hadn’t been damaged and prosperity was rippling through the nation. Suburbs provided relief to the housing shortages and couples were marrying at a younger age, which then led to the baby boom era. However, there was a group of people that were affected within pop culture. Swing bands and jazz orchestras began to attract less and less attention. They had once been in popular demand; prohibition turned the ballroom business into larger venues and the Depression left many musicians willing to work for almost nothing. However, after the war, audiences and venues became smaller and the spike in prices made it harder for large bands to travel around from gig to gig. Venues began to drop bands or hire them for only half-week or weekend business. Unlike the businesses that were able to shut down during slow days, touring bands began to lose money when they weren’t able to find a place to play. Orchestras began disbanding. Jazz bands no longer played a central role in popular music. Previous to their disbandment, the band leaders of orchestras acted like the hosts of entertainment. They produced dance music for lively audiences. But those audiences were on the decline. Seated audiences in theaters became the new target and swing bands were unable to enthralled them. Vocal singers had always been a part in some bands, as instrumental soloists. Fans might have known their name but in the world of critics, they were just the voices of the band leader’s orchestra. Soon later though, singers that were a part of big bands began to separate. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra both parted from their swing bands creating successful solo careers. The singers themselves were now front and center, able to excited the seated, theater audience. They were able to transition their music from live performances to records and radio play. However, Sinatra started receiving backlash when he stuck to his “Tin Pan Alley” compositions, backed by big bands. Crosby, on the other hand, was more in tune with the developing taste of the pop world. He presented a broad range of material that would soon relate to the growing interest in country, folk and western styles. Sinatra went wrong with his single-mindedness because he was singing the style that he, and his now growing older audience liked, instead of compensating for the growing interest in other musical directions. Traditional folk music…