American Popular Music

  • 1760's - Pleasure Gardens

    1760's - Pleasure Gardens
    Pleasure gardens originated in England and were places where people could pay an entry fee and enjoy a walk in beautiful gardens filled with music and entertainment. The pleasure gardens were like were like our modern day amusement parks and they included refreshments, fountains, beautiful plants and flowers, music, exotic performances, and even fireworks.
  • Star Spangled Banner Lyrics Developed

    Star Spangled Banner Lyrics Developed
    On September 13 in 1812 Francis Key Scott wrote a poem that would later in 1831 be put to music and become the United States national anthem. The poem gained its popularity mainly by being published in newspapers and the song that the poem was put into was called “To Anacreon in Heaven”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-DSFrGnQrk
  • Thomas Edison Invents his Phonograph

    Thomas Edison Invents his Phonograph
    When Thomas Edison was trying to figure out ways to better transmit messages using a telegraph, he figured out that when played at a high speed, the movement of the tape through the machine resembled spoken words. While working with a pointed metal needle, and a tin foil speaker, he managed to record audio and the first words he recorded were, “Mary had a little lamb.”
  • Musical Nickelodeon Machines Places in Public Places

    Musical Nickelodeon Machines Places in Public Places
    The machines worked by inserting a nickel and they would play a short piece of music. These machines were advanced tremendously and later became known as jukeboxes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smbkDCujuxc
  • Double Sided 78 RPM Disc

    Double Sided 78 RPM Disc
    When music was recorded on a gramophone, it was put on these discs. It made music more accessible to people and it made it something you could enjoy in your home without a ton of work
  • The Castles Hire James Reese Europe

    Irene and Vernon, otherwise known as the Castles, hired black bandleader, James Reese Europe to lead the music for their dancing. The Castles gained popularity through creating simple dance moves and they needed music to keep up with them.
  • 1921 Shuffle Along (Sissle/Blake) becomes first successful all black musical on broadway

    1921 Shuffle Along (Sissle/Blake) becomes first successful all black musical on broadway
    The musical ran for 504 performances during its first run, which was not only extremely unusual for performers of color to gain that sort of success considering the amount of racism in that time, it was very unusual for any musical to gain such success during that decade. It was said to have “curtain time traffic jams” on 63rd street due to the amount of people attending the show, it has been revived twice already in 1933 and 1952, and it will be revived a third time during the winter of 2016.
  • Electronic recordings begin with introduction of the microphone

    Electronic recordings begin with introduction of the microphone
    After introducing the microphone, sound quality improved and the process of recording was more flexible. This didn’t fix the issue that the sound was being recorded directly onto the medium and if a mistake is made, the recording needs to be made all over again.
  • Louis Armstrong records “West End Blues”

    Louis Armstrong records “West End Blues”
    The popularity of this song showed the possibility of success for solo blues artists and singers. Louis’s rough deep voice was different, but people enjoyed it.
  • Roy Acuff joins the Grand Ole Opry

    Roy Acuff joins the Grand Ole Opry
    Roy was known as the “King of Country Music”. He was also known as the first real country star, because he took it from string bands and hoedowns to an internationally enjoyed genre of music.
  • Oklahoma opens on Broadway

    Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and was known as the first modern book musical. It was based on the 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs.
  • Les Paul uses overdubbing to create his own recordings with up to eight different guitar tracks.

    Les Paul uses overdubbing to create his own recordings with up to eight different guitar tracks.
    Les Paul was a very important pioneer to music, because not only was he one of the first people to use overdubbing, he was also one of the first people to utilize the solid-body electric guitar, which is one of the sounds that made rock and roll possible.
  • 1948 Nat “King” Cole is first black musician to host a weekly radio show

    1948 Nat “King” Cole is first black musician to host a weekly radio show
    He had 15 minutes a week and a lot of the recordings made for the radio program were later used on commercial records
  • Hank William dies

    Hank William dies
    When driving from Montgomery to Knoxville, Williams drank a combination of choral hydrate and alcohol, which left him feeling unwell. The doctor injected him with two shots of vitamin B12, which containeda quarter-grain of morphine. When he left the hotel, he had to be carried to the car as he hiccuped and coughed. He died around midnight on January 1st.
  • Chuck Berry records “Maybellene,” launching his career as a great and highly influential rock songwriter and guitarist.

    Chuck Berry records “Maybellene,” launching his career as a great and highly influential rock songwriter and guitarist.
    This song did not only launch the career of Chuck Berry, it also set an example for early rock music.
  • Elvis Presley begins his recording career at RCA Victor and his reign as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

    Elvis Presley begins his recording career at RCA Victor and his reign as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
    Elvis Presley is probably one of the most famous and popularly known musicians ever, as well as being a huge pop culture icon.
  • Ritchie Valens releases La Bamba

    Ritchie Valens releases La Bamba
    This song showed how you could combine both rock 'n' roll and Latino style music, creating a space for more artist to make more Latino inspired rock music.
  • Berry Gordy Jr. starts Motown Records.

    Berry Gordy Jr. starts Motown Records.
    This company gave a chance to artists of color, who were often turned down because of their race by other record companies. It launched the careers of people like Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Jackson 5(Start of Michael Jackson's Career), and Stevie Wonder.
  • “The Day the Music Died”: a plane crash takes the lives of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens

    “The Day the Music Died”: a plane crash takes the lives of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens
    Their plane crashed only minutes after taking off on a plane from Mason City, Iowa to Moorehead, Minnesota.
  • Chubby Checker’s recording of “The Twist” sets off a spate of dance records and crazes.

    Chubby Checker’s recording of “The Twist” sets off a spate of dance records and crazes.
    This single recording of the song “The Twist” started a dance craze, because young people realized they could adapt this older dance, to their newer music.
  • First Cassette Tape Manufactured

    The first cassette time was created by Phillips Electronics, which was a company from the Netherlands.
  • The Beach Boys’ first hits popularize the “California sound”

    The Beach Boys’ first hits popularize the “California sound”
    The California sound is a style that 1960’s pop and rock artist would use. It was also known as sunshine pop and it was based off of beach culture and sunny optimism.
  • “Beatlemania” breaks out in the United States, marking the beginning of the British Invasion

    “Beatlemania” breaks out in the United States, marking the beginning of the British Invasion
    The British Invasion took place in the 1960’s and it's when bands from the United Kingdom, as well as British culture became popular in the United States.
  • Aretha franklin's Respect becomes an empowerment song

    Aretha franklin's Respect becomes an empowerment song
    The song became a racial empowerment song during a time of lots of racism and an empowerment song to women during a time of lots of misogyny.
  • Hair is the first rock musical on Broadway

    Hair is the first rock musical on Broadway
    Hair was the first Broadway musical to use rock and roll music and was a result of hippie counterculture and the sexual revolution.
  • First Woodstock Festival

    On August 15th through 18th in White Lake, New York, in 1969 thousands of people attended the first Woodatock festival. Some of the artists performing included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Grateful Dead.
  • Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the best selling rock albums of all time.

    Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the best selling rock albums of all time.
    An Estimated 50 million copies of this record have been sold.
  • The film Saturday Night Fever helps push the popularity of disco to its height

    The film Saturday Night Fever helps push the popularity of disco to its height
    The film starring John Travolta included mostly music by the Bee Gees and the popularity of the film caused a craze for disco to reach its peak.
  • MTV Debuts

    MTV Debuts
    Music Telivision, MTV for short, was a telivision where music videos from popular artists would be played. This made music and music videos more accesible and increased the amount of artists creating music videos.
  • Michael Jackson's Thriller is released

    Thriler Music Video
    This album became the best selling album ever worlwide. Selling an estimated 65 million copies. All four songs reached the top 10 on bilboard charts and the album stayed in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for a year, with 37 weeks at number one.
  • First CDs offered for sale

    First CDs offered for sale
    The first album released on CD was Billy Joel's 52md Street.
  • Apple Introduces Ipod

    Apple Introduces Ipod
    The first Ipod had 5gb of storage, had 10 hours of battery life, and costed four hundred dollars.
  • American Idol Premieres

    American Idol Premieres
    In the first season of this reality competition singing show, Kelly Clarkson, who is now a multi million dollar singer, is the first winner.
  • Britteny Spears tops Forbes' list of most powerful celebrities

    Britteny Spears was the youngest pop star to reach this title at the age of 20 years old. Forbes used a formula that was based off of money and fame and Spears topped people like Madonna, Nsync, and Mariah Carrey.
  • MySpace is used by artists to promote themsleves

    MySpace is used by artists to promote themsleves
    MySpace, one of the original social networks, was used to share photos, blog posts, videos, and music on personal profiles, blogs, and networks of friends.
  • Facebook is launched by Mark Zuckerburg

    Facebook is launched by Mark Zuckerburg
    Facebook, quickly becoming the top social network, was/is a website where you can connect with friends, share posts, photos & videos, and recieve content from things and people that you "like".
  • Kanye West criticizes the government

    Kanye West criticizes the government
    Rapper, Kanye West, was upset about how the government reacted to Hurricane Katrina and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," adressing the state of racism in our country.
  • Taylor Swift's Fearless tops charts.

    Taylor Swift's Fearless tops charts.
    Out of 13 songs on Taylor Swift's Fearless album, 11 of them made the billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
  • Spotify is launched

    Spotify is launched
    The free music streaming program supported by advertisments, Spotify, launches in Sweden.
  • The Voice premieres.

    The Voice premieres.
    The Voice on NBC was a competition singing show focusing on the music more than the looks, featuring judges Cee lo Green, Crisitna Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine.