Sit back, relax and imagine you're at a speak-easy during prohibition, or at the Ziegfeld Follies, or maybe just listening to the radio during the glorious, notorious Roaring Twenties; An era of musical and sexual abandon that sparked a cultural revolution around the world.
This compilation is a perfect accompaniment to a twenties themed party, or just a long drive.
Enjoy, and please comment.
The Roaring Twenties refers to the North American period of the 1920s, which has been described as "one of the most colorful decades in history." The decade encapsulates a fascinating story, beginning with the return of young soldiers from the fronts of the World War I the growth of jazz music and emergence of a new and confident face of modern womanhood, and ending with the sad note of the Black Tuesday, harbinger of the Great Depression. The years of the Roaring Twenties were marked by several inventions and discoveries of far-reaching consequences; emergence of unprecedented industrial boom and accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, coupled with significant changes in the lifestyle; and a series of events, national as well as international, which shaped a large part of the history of the 20th century.
Due to the dreary economic situation after World War I, many American and European families needed to replace the incomes of the family fathers lost in the battlefield; women had to accept a job, and move outside the home. This also gave them a new self-confidence. The change in role was also reflected in the media: the gar?onne-look portrayed the ideal woman as an androgynous, working woman that had reached equality with men while simultaneously possessing the appeal of the femme fatale. Pantsuits, hats and canes gave women a sleek look without frills and avoiding the fickleness of fashion. The style was named after the novel La gar?onne by Victor Margueritte. In Europe, this look featured women with short hair (Bubikopf) for the first time; in the U.S., the bob was popularized by actresses Norma Shearer, Laura La Plante, Norma Talmadge, Louise Brooks, Leatrice Joy, Dorothy Mackaill, Dolores Costello and Colleen Moore in the early 1920s. As a result of this move towards practical androgyny, corsets went out of style, and some women even bandaged their breasts to make them look flatter. Flappers, as these women were called in the U.S., wore short dresses with a straight loose silhouette. By 1927, hemlines had risen to just below the knee and they remained there until 1930 when they dropped back down again.
Thus, the Roaring Twenties gave a new definition to womanhood?a new woman was born, who smoked and drank in public, danced and exercised her franchise, kept her hair short, wore make-up, dressed differently, and confidently participated in economic activities.
The Jazz Age
The first commercial radio station in the United States, KDKA, began broadcasting in Pittsburgh in 1922. Radio stations subsequently proliferated at a remarkable rate, and with them spread the popularity of jazz. Jazz became associated with all things modern, sophisticated, and also decadent. Some of the most popular bands of the decade included those of: Duke Ellington, Paul Whiteman, Leo Reisman, Abe Lyman, Nat Shilkret, George Olsend, Ben Bernie, Bob Haring, Ben Selvin, Earl Burtnett, Gus Arnheim, Rudy Vallee, Jean Goldkette, Ted Lewis, Bob Haring and Fred Waring. Popular vocalists included: Nick Lucas, Harold Scrappy Lambert, Gene Austin, Johnny Marvin, Rudy Vallee, Ted Lewis, Frank Munn, Franklyn Baur, Jack Smith, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Maurice Chevalier, Morton Downey, James Melton, Ruth Etting, Helen Kane, Cliff Edwards, Chester Gaylord and Dick Robertson. Men tended to sing in a high pitched voice, typified by Harold Scrappy Lambert who was one of the most popular recording artists of the decade. In the 1920s, the music performed by these artists was called jazz. Today, the popular music of the 1920s is usually labeled as "sweet music" by jazz purists.
The music that people consider today as "jazz" tended to be played by minorities. In the 1920s, the majority of people listen to what we would call today "sweet music" and hardcore jazz was categorized as "hot music" or "race music." Louis Armstrong marked the time with improvisations and endless variations on a single melody. Armstrong contributed largely to making scat singing popular, an improvisational vocal technique in which nonsensical syllables are sung or otherwise vocalized, often as part of a call-and-response interaction with other musicians onstage. Apart from the clarinet, Sidney Bechet also popularized the saxophone. Dance venues increased the demand for professional musicians and jazz adopted the 4/4 beat of dance music. Tap dancers entertained people in Vaudeville theaters, out in the streets or accompanying bands. At the end of the Roaring Twenties, Duke Ellington entered the scene to start the beginning of the big band era.