Myth Of The Twenty-First Century III The Music Assault a.

October 9, 2017

The Myth Of The Twenty-First Century

by

R.E. Prindle

The Music Assault: a

 

-I-

As the Fifties of the last century began voices were beginning to be raised objecting to the Communist influences in music. Of course the Communists and their Fellow Travelers denied the accusation. As the Fifties witnessed the birth of Rock n’ Rollers we innocent teens rejected the idea outright as an attack on our music. And yet…and yet…it now is proven true. Of all the cultural weapons for changing a culture music is one of the most effective.

It was perhaps the ancient Greek legislator Solon who first pointed out that when there is change in a nation’s music it presages major cultural changes in that society. While Solon may have been first, I first had my attention drawn to the notion by that great American social historian, Marc Sullivan who wrote in the thirties. Sullivan who was the premier journalist of the first third of the twentieth century wrote his terrific six volume social history of the US for the same period and he was especially concerned with the role of music as he recorded the various changes to American music over the period.

The period also saw the rise of the phonograph and recording industry as it evolved from the three minute 78 rpm shellac record to the 45 rep vinyl disc and the to the 10” long playing disc or LP then to high fidelity then to the 12” LP that perfected the size of an LP and finally in 1958 to stereo hi-fi that became the standard until the development of the compact disc or CD. At the point of the 12” stereo LP the medium that would influence the generation was perfected. More efficient production methods with a greatly expanding market brought prices within the range of nearly everyone while rising wages added the frosting to the musical cake.

America had a rich and wide range of musical styles to choose from. As Mark Sullivan pointed out each immigrant group brought its musical tradition with it. Thus, there were first Irish tunes contributing Celtic traditions to the American pie, German tunes, Italian tunes, traditional British tunes and what have you. As Sullivan points out the Jewish contribution was different. No specific Jewish music came to light however the Jews were capable of mimicking every national music. Thus seeming songs of every race and nationality may upon examination prove to be of Jewish provenance.

Post WWI when the current American scene began it rise there was a large body of music available from Negro to Irish, German, Italian, White Hillbilly and Western, as well as White popular music. After 1920 an astonishing amount of popular music was written and not infrequently performed by Jews. The cultural direction of the US then fell into the hands of Jews. The Jews would take a commanding role in all phases of popular music as the century evolved.

An important source of music came from the Negro population. Early ragtime evolved into jazz then combined with the New Orleans style. The New Orleans style moved upriver to Chicago where it changed once again from country blues to Big City Blues and Rhythm and Blues, R&B.

Behind these musics lay native White music that evolved from British folk music. This music turned into Hillbilly or its more refined and socially acceptable name, Country. Cowboy or Western music was a separate genre. Although combined into one category the two musics were quite separate. One Shreveport DJ boasted that the played both kinds of music, Country and Western. Originally Hillbilly and Negro music were termed Race music but developing sensibilities caused Race music to be changed into Country and Western and Rhythm and Blues. Jazz, of course was always a separate category.

A most significant musical event occurred in 1926 when Carl Sandburg published the magnificent musical compendium The American Song Bag. This was a collection of Folk and bar tunes that centered around the period 1880-1910 including such classics as The Midnight Special and Frankie and Johnny, Betty and Dupree and others that were the staple of Rock n’ Roll through the Sixties and seventies and that began to disappear with the coming of homosexual disco music and Negro rap.

Mark Sullivan’s six volume Our Times was a best seller. It is impossible to tell who all were influenced. Carl Sandburg’s American Song Book influenced musicians in both the US and Great Britain down through the eighties. Nevertheless, using popular songs to influence popular mores was taken up seriously from the thirties on by the Communists. Recently an attempt has begun to dissociate Communist crimes by referring to a Stalinist period, now making Stalin a sort of Communist Hitler personally responsible for the crimes, the Trotskyist party being the good Communists, thus absolving Communism. Of course, for the Jews, the backbone of Communism, they seized the song and dance business as early as the turn of the century so the business became second nature to them.

Songs by Jewish writers that seem innocent enough on the surface, Jews claim are actually subversive of ‘Christian’ or American culture. A song writer the country revered during the period was Irving Berlin. According to Jewish writers a song like the Easter Parade of the apparently devilishly clever Irving Berlin, pleasant enough on the face of it, is actually an attack demeaning the resurrection of Jesus as nothing more than a fashion parade. Another Berlin tune, White Christmas, they say, turns the birth of Jesus into a paean for snow. Berlin’s God Bless America is a call for Jews to quit causing trouble as WWII became imminent and ‘to stand beside (America) and guide (America) with the help from God above.’

The propaganda of those three songs may be too subtle for most people to grasp but if the Jews say that was their intent then it must be so.

It is interesting to note that the patriotic content of Hillbilly and Western songs made their listeners more impervious to the Communist propaganda than the general public. Thus ‘native’ American music became a propaganda tool putting a stick in the spokes of the Communist wheel. That may be part of the reason that Country music has been denigrated while its listeners are depicted as low class ignorant Whites. And it may be part of the reason about 1977 that an edict went out to Country radio stations forbidding them to play fifties and sixties country records. Any DJs who ignored the edict were summarily fired. From that time forward only current country artists could be played as old patriotic motifs were attempted to be deleted in favor of the new Communist mores. New technological development of course placed that edict beyond their enforcement temporarily although still in effect for radio. But, from 1977 forward only current country artists could be played, a subtle change occurred although it was too difficult for C&W to abandon its patriotic roots entirely. It is interesting that in October 1917 an attack was made on a C&W concert in Las Vegas Nevada in which over five hundred people were gunned down, dead or wounded. The assault goes on, this time deadly.

It is interesting that during the thirties the Roosevelt Administration funded Leftist folk song collectors such as Alan Lomax to rove the nether reaches of White Appalachian cultures and Southern Negro culture in search of ‘folk’ tunes. The search can be construed as an attack on culture as from that time Folk music was accused of being Communist influenced. Indeed, such performer’s when found were coopted by the Left as much as possible. Thus the Negro Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbettor became a key icon of the Left although I doubt if Leadbelly had any politics.

A key performer was the influential Woody Guthrie who was a Communist and who sported a sticker on his guitar claiming that ‘this machine kills Fascists.’ Fascists in the Left’s lexicon means only non-Communists. Guthrie thus became a propagandist for the Communists and FDR. And he was superb. Once again, his songs may not have been apparent as propaganda but such songs as Grand Coolie Dam and the celebration of the Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam certainly were but so subtle you wouldn’t notice. Grand Coolie was Roosevelt’s attempt to shade Herbert Hoover’s magnificent achievement Hoover Dam on the Colorado renamed Boulder Dam in spite by FDR and changed back to Hoover after FDR’s death.

So, as Hoover Dam neared completion FDR began Grand Coulee as a propaganda ploy. Just as Hoover was billed as making the desert bloom so Grand Coulee was said to transform Washington State’s Columbia River valley. FDR began Grand Coulee and requested Guthrie to compose a song celebrating it. Guthrie actually composed a suite of songs around the Dam. Hoover Dam was by far the greater achievement but through the magic of propaganda Grand Coolie took the spotlight. Great song too, one of Guthrie’s best; I recommend the Lonnie Donegan version.

John A. Lomax and his more famous son Alan remained fixtures on the folk scene that matured and expired in New York City’s Greenwich Village during the Sixties. That movement was both Jewish and Leftist. Alan was a very important figure in American Negro and World Music to the time of his death in 2002.

Setting the Folk tone in the forties along with Woody Guthrie was the redoubtable Pete Seeger who remained a significant figure in the urban Folk scene until his death in 2014. Seeger was instrumental in the forties in the formation of the Almanac Singers which while not particularly successful in attracting audiences was nevertheless a key element in the urban Folk revival. The troupe attracted Guthrie who was in and out and eventually morphed into the post-war group, the very successful Weavers. The Weavers ran afoul of the House Un-American Committee and were forced into temporary inactivity. Still, they were very influential on subsequent folk groups of the late Fifties such as the Kingston Trio. Folk groups like the Kingstons were also key figures in the development of World Music.

The forties mentality of the urban folk tradition continued in New York City until the early and mid-Sixties when it was transformed by people like the Chicago transplant, Albert Grossman who was key in taking the NYC folk scene commercial through his formation of the group Peter, Paul and Mary and his association with a callow Bob Dylan from Minnesota as a songwriter.

While White people despised and rejected their own Country and Folk music including the performers they very actively embraced Negro or Black music. Negro music can be broadly divided into three categories, pop, rhythm and blues and jazz. Negro pop music was packaged for White consumption led by stellar performers of the forties group, The Ink Spots and the Fifties Platters.

The Ink Spots would be very influential on the quintessential rocker Elvis Presley. Negro pop was very smooth and agreeable to White ears while still distinctly Negro.

Rhythm and Blues by the early groups was Negro music for Black people. Whites generally ignored it but many dedicated White enthusiasts worked to make it palatable. The music was very alien in sound to White ears. The Blues part of Rhythm and Blues before English performers revolutionized the music during the British Invasion had no White audience except for a negrified minority. All of the near sacred names of today had no audience back then.

Jazz with its long history and many variations was more of a crossover music although perhaps not quite so popular as C&W. Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and Country and Western were all styled Race Music by the industry. That all changed with the 1954 Brown vs. The Board Of Education Supreme Court decision when strong racial distinctions were dropped.

It was then that crossover recordings suddenly became popular. Race songwriters such as the great Hank Williams had several of his songs recorded by schmaltzy pop singers although he himself was too Hillbilly to be accepted by the haut Whites. Western singer Marty Robbins temporarily gained acceptance of a sort by the haut Whites. At least they bought his records. Robbins competed on the pop charts with schmaltz singer Guy Mitchell.

Dozens of R&B songs were covered, that is hits on the R&B charts were rerecorded by White schmaltz pop singers. The Negro artists themselves didn’t make it to the pop charts as their sound was still too raw and designed for ethnic markets. This would change shortly as Country style Negro singer Chuck Berry turned out hits aimed at the White teen rock n’ roll market. Black artists more ethnic than the earlier Ink Spots began to have hits. However the rock n’ roll market per se would remain White.

The jazz market was tightly bound to Negroes and those Whites who were sympathetic to the Negro spirit and psychology. That is how the musical scene stood c. 1955-’60.

As Mark Sullivan knew and predicted changes in the music portended great changes in society. The various musics would then be used for propagandizing political agendas. That would be to directly challenge what was known as White Supremacy.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Europeans had successfully invaded and conquered the world. With few exceptions the world had been colonized and essentially annexed by Europeans, principally England and France. By the end of the nineteenth century North America was European; Africa had been conquered and divided by the European nations, almost without exception all the islands of the world flew European flags, Japan being the major exception. Even huge China had been divided into spheres of interest, the Imperial City sacked, much as ancient Rome had been plundered, while the Chinese government was subservient to the European powers. Not since Genghis Kahn had such an empire been in existence. Times had changed and while historians are still in awe of the Mongol conquests, Europeans conquests were somehow seen as evil.

Then the reaction set in.

European populations were too small to provide settlers for all but a few choice locations and those mainly in North America while the fratricidal war of 1914-18 shattered European power as European manhood was destroyed in the millions on the battle fields. At the same time Europe divided into two opposing camps, the Communist and the Traditional, styled Capitalist by the Communists.

The nominally free of the West and the bond or serf of the Communist world. The Communists could attack the West externally, that is arouse the colonies to resist ‘Imperialism’ and at the same time cultivate dissenters internally to unbalance internal politics while being immune themselves as totalitarian State brooking no dissenting opinions.

As the thirties, also known as the Red Decade, began, then, Communists agents were entrenched in the institutions of the ‘free’ West with the exception of Germany, Italy and Spain. The West was between two jaws of the vice.

What I say next goes against everything you have been conditioned to believe. Your first reaction will be to be deeply offended. The driving and dividing force in the destruction of the West and Whites is the Jewish nation. The Jews are not only citizens of the countries in which they reside but they are a semi-autonomous nation operating within the various national boundaries and also as a supra-national nation or people organized to function over the nations with their own international government. You will resist this reality but it is the truth nonetheless.

Jews were an integral unit in the Roosevelt Administration while Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. considered himself almost a co-president. As such, they needed a bludgeon to fracture the US into its separate national and racial constituencies. The race issue was the easiest to exacerbate. Not only were the Jews the ultimate victims themselves after the concentration camps of the Nazis were confirmed, and they were very difficult for most people to believe, but the Negro was even a bigger and heavier bludgeon of guilt. While US Whites had nothing to do with Nazi methods, White guilt over Negro slavery was very active.

However, with Jim Crow firmly seated a good lever was needed to divide the Whites into two camps styled the racists and the anti-racists, haters and anti-haters, Semitophiles and anti-Semites, the good and the bad. There was no neutrality or reason; it was either-or. If you were not an ardently professing anti-racist then you were perforce a racist. Nevertheless, Jim Crow was so solidly entrenched and, actually, satisfactory to the Whites of all regions, that a plan to enter the wedge had to be found. This was—music.

Bear in mind that with the connivance of FDR and his wife Eleanor his Works Progress Administration (WPA) through its Federal Writer’s Project, Federal Theatre Project and others funded so-called unemployed writers, actors and directors and such, including Alan Lomax. How a writer or actor qualified for this money isn’t clear to me. Almost all, but the lucky few, can be considered full time unemployed unless they stoop to a day job. As a consequence under the direction of administrator Hallie Flanagan the Projects were filled with Communists, Leftists, whatever name you give them to the exclusion of non-ideological applicants thus the whole of literature, stage and music became a propaganda tool for Communism. Members of the Arts Projects would be active guiding members of the arts for decades so that non-Ideologists were frozen out of influence and prosperity. Most especially beneficiaries was the Folk music wing under the leadership of Lomax and Pete ‘If I Had A Hammer’ Seeger. The only reason Pete didn’t have a hammer is because he was an artist and his words and music were a hammer. He was sponging his way through life.

After the Folk tactic that included deconstruction of Folk into useful elements and then reconstructing it into Leftist propaganda the idea was to introduce Negro music into the White culture, in this case an assault on the vulnerable young person who would soon become the consumer category, teenager.

This would not be easy as the contrasts between the Negro culture and the White culture were no more apparent than in music. You must realize that in this hundred year period differences were much stronger than today so that the two musicals styles might have been from parallel and dissimilar universes. Of course, pop groups like the Ink Spots had been molded, accepted and given a place but they were packaged specifically for a White audience; I doubt if many Negroes listened to them. The Negro blues music was too raw except for a marginal White audience and that left Rhythm and Blues (R&B) that was mostly pop music specifically for the Black audience.

In the big cities with a large Negro audience specific Negro radio stations existed appealing also to members of a larger White audience. There was a sort of missionary aspect in the attempt to make White kids accept the music. The music crusaders were almost all Jews and Jewish disc jockeys, (DJs, radio employees who played records). New York City was a hot bed for them although the top DJ of all time, Alan Freed, originated in Cleveland then moving to New York City before he was punished by the US Congress for being too successful.

So, gradually over a decade or so authentic Negro groups gained a White audience but it was only Jewish songwriters writing in the Negro idiom made palatable for Whites that put R&B over, such as the most successful writing team, Leiber and Stoller plus Doc Pomus, Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin among many others. It all came out of Tin Pan Alley and that was Jewish. An interesting story about Tin Pan Alley and Bob Dylan will appear further along.

I came from a smaller town that offered a half hour a week show on one station of Detroit R&B, always delivered in sacred tones by the White DJ. As the Sixties began Berry Gordy of Detroit discovered the formula for making Negro pop records for a White audience by a Black producer and company although many of the authentic sounding Negro musicians backing the singers were White.

By 1960 then, Negro R&B had conquered the White market but not yet Negro artists like James Brown or Bo Diddley. That would take a lot of propaganda and the two were never put over to a universal audience. The success of R&B coincided with the success of the Civil Rights Movement. It would become racist not to prefer Negro music to White.

To back up a little to put things into perspective, that is the reaction of Folk musical development. In his travels through the Negro regions of the South looking for authentic Negro songs Alan Lomax discovered a murderer in prison by the name of Huddie Ledbettor known by his nickname Leadbelly. Leadbelly was a mediocre guitar player and so-so singer, but he captured Lomax’s fancy. I am always amazed at Lomax’s extreme dedication in pursuing these songs of which very few would ever be heard by anyone else. Prisons seem like the last place I would go. There must have been many venues on the outside offering many knowledgeable singers of Negro Tunes. As it turns out a large part of Leadbelly’s repertoire can be found in Carl Sandburg’s American Song Bag of 1926 that Lomax apparently never consulted.

Leadbelly supposedly knew hundreds of songs unfamiliar to anyone but himself, however as I have pointed out the most popular ones can be found in Sandburg. I make no further comment. It must be that the Left needed some Negro singers to be so astonishingly talented as to put White listeners in awe. Leadbelly today has a legendary status. Hence Leadbelly rescued by Lomax not once but twice from prison – two separate offenses – was taken to New York where he was feted, lionized and recorded. With all this hoopla Leadbelly within a few years became a legend in his own time.

Although he only learned the songs he is often credited with writing them. I’m sure most Folkies think he wrote them. For instance Midnight Special which was a foundation song of the Folk and Rock years can be found in two different verstions (pp. 26 and 217 in Sandburg) and Sandburg himself only collected songs that dated back to the years surrounding the turn of the century. Thus a nondescript murderer became a legend of profound Negro creativity.

The Almanac Singers who turned into the Weavers were led by the indefatigable Pete Seeger. Thus, from the forties through 1953 when the Weavers were blacklisted the group banged the gong for Huddie Ledbettor making a hit of Goodnight Irene as sung by Leadbelly. Now, as these songs reportedly came from the soul of the Magic Negro they became anthems if not religious hymns. It would become racist to not only not like them but not revere them as high water marks in music.

Before blacklisting the Weavers were very popular. Their next release was eagerly awaited. Not only did they promote the Negro case but they were instrumental, if not one of the originators, of forming World Music. World Music then was used to denigrate White music. The Weavers made a big hit out of a Jewish song called Tzena, Tzena, Tzena. It was a catchy tune with a lot of joyous whooping that made it hard not to like.

Now, this was shortly after the founding of Israel in 1948 so there was a lot of hoopla concerning the Jews as the Christian Fundamentalists heralded the founding of the Jewish state as the prophesied return of the Jews of the world to the ‘Holy Land’ whereby when that was accomplished the Final Judgment would be at hand. The Great Gittin’ Up Morning. The end of one world and the beginning of the next. In fact, at this time there was a lot of gathering by the river music and some actual dates prophesying the end of the world that came and went several times while stirring the people up mightily.

At this time, somewhen around 1954, TV was becoming established as the eye in the living room and a favorite show was ‘Your Hit Parade’ of the top ten songs in the country. Pete Seeger seized the moment although he misinterpreted it trying to mainline politics into entertainment. Tzena being Jewish and having been a hit Pete thought that the ditty was a hit because it was Jewish rather than a lilting tune. In a burst of enthusiasm to promote the Jewish State and people Pete came up with a song called Song Of The Sabra. Sabras were people who had been born in then Palestine so were native, as it were, to Israel. The song either was so offensively pro-Jewish that it had no chance of becoming a hit or it was a dud of a song. It was unadulterated propaganda. Nevertheless, though barely released and not even in the top ten, probably using the fame of the Weavers, Seeger persuaded Your Hit Parade to let him style the song as an ‘extra.’ He used the set of a phony camp fire with ‘Sabras’ gathered around singing in absolute solidarity. Well it was a bomb, setting up a reaction condemning it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the song was the main reason the Weavers were blacklisted.

Nevertheless World Music had been launched. It came about in various ways. For instance, there were musical fetes in the Negro Caribbean, Trinidad, where calypso music was performed by groups with exotic names like Lord Invader and Mighty Sparrow. There were calypso competitions and champions proclaimed. At the same time the Mambo and Samba became dance crazes as South American music was celebrated. Those were the days when pidgin English was still an accepted dialect. Of course there was Harry Belafonte and his Banana Boat Song – daylight come and me want to go home. Belafonte hated the US; his concerts were put downs of it and the West. His attitude was either ignored or embraced and he was very popular for a while.

Now, all this music was pleasant enjoyable stuff while few people realized that they were being propagandized and conditioned to despise or devalue their own culture and America. This would become more obvious and embraced in 1957 when Eugene Burdick published his book ‘The Ugly American.’ American’s embraced the idea that they were ugly, actually seemed to enjoy it, glory in it.

And, also, Jac Holtzman who had founded his Electra Records label about this time began issuing a series of records on his subsidiary label, Nonesuch Records, displaying Japanese Koto Music, Balinese Gamelan Music and others, Bulgarian Folk Songs, pretty nifty stuff, all excellent enjoyable records, mainly for the intelligentsia of the time, but moving World Music along. On the pop front Martin Denny’s recording The Quiet Village and similar others may also actually have been a contribution to World Music. Americans were beginning to have money and felt the lure of far away places. They were footloose and the big transatlantic 707s came into use in 1959 making traveling to faraway place easy. The 1948 song by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitley expresses the desire:

Far away places with strange sounding names

Far over the seas,

Those far away places with the strange sounding names

Are Calling me, calling me…

Goin’ to China or maybe Siam,

I wanna see for myself

Those far way places I’ve been reading about

In a book that I took from a shelf.

I start getting restless whenever I hear

The whistle of a train.

I pray for the day I can get under way

And look for the castles in Spain.

They call me a dreamer, well, maybe I am,

But I know that I’m yearning to see

Those faraway places with strange sounding names

Calling me, calling me away.

There is the general post-war musical scene. Now, in 1954 Bill Haley and the Comets officially introduced rock n’ roll to the world. This was as upsetting to the WWII generation as the atom bomb. It was a change in culture they didn’t see coming and absolutely rejected. Haley was made to pay a price for this. Rock n’ Roll. Just like the atom bomb rock n’ roll blew the world apart. It split the older and younger generations in two. There was no gap; there was a cleavage. There was no connection between them and no room for conciliation.

At the same time the music alarmed the anti-Communist people who were just coming off the McCarthy years. Joe McCarthy had just been discredited by Eisenhower.

The Protestant and Catholic clergy that had the most to lose from the Communist Revolution succeeded, deep in a frenzy, in declaring that rock n’ roll was the leading edge of the Communist conspiracy. Sixteen at the time and quite taken by R&R I found this claim ludicrous. Of late I begin to understand their concern.

Here is a quote from the Reverend David A. Noebel’s Rhythm, Riots and Revolution published by Christian Crusade Publishing. Noebel was associating with the Billy James Hargis Crusade:

When Pete Seeger made the comment that “the guitar could be mightier than the bomb,” he wasn’t engaged in wishful thinking. The truth is these Marxist folk singers are achieving their nefarious objectives. Singing their Marxist ditties and making their listeners feel nauseated at living in America is proving extremely effective; and their scientific modus operandi is described thus by Dr. William J. Bryan Jr: “Sometimes a well-known folk-song’s tempo will be changed to the same beat as the normal pulse beat which makes it more effective for induction. This is identically the same technique used by Young People’s Records for children.

[In point of fact it was also the technique that Sixties singer and guitarist Jimi Hendrix used. As he explained it the idea was to set up a steady beat lulling the audience over a period into a hypnoid state and then when in a passive mental state injecting the propaganda then continuing the song.]

“Right now,” according to Seeger, “many of the song traditions of the 1930s are seeing new life as never before – in the freedom songs of the South and in the topical singers of many a campus.”

The revolutionary folksong of the Communists in this country is Pete Seeger’s famous “We Shall Overcome.” In fact as Dr. Fernando Penabaz has pointed out, Fidel Castro’s official slogan for his Communist regime in Cuba is precisely “Venceremos i.e. “We Shall Overcome.” Fidel Castro closes every public speech with, “Patria o muerte, venceremos.” (Fatherland or death, we shall overcome.) and his captive mobs dutifully chant, “Venceremos.”

As can be seen this was a massive coordinated attack on the mores of the US. Beginning with the very young the effort is to condition young minds to a very definite Weltanschauung.   The effort quite clearly is toward a Jewish and Communist system. These operatives function unhampered and unhindered. David Noebel, a Protestant minister, is well informed, he knows whereof he speaks, but he couldn’t find a publisher, he had to self-publish which means he has no distribution so he has effectively been silenced. As a religious he can automatically be dismissed as a crank, so thoroughly discredited.

In an instance like Noebel’s someone, some organization has to be able to shut off all approaches and those parties or party will direct the great propaganda machine that will become rock n’ roll. That points directly to the Jews who effectively control or controlled the whole music industry from top to bottom. It was an exceptional person who broke through the blockade and that guy never showed up.

The Jews and the Communists quarreled after the War was over so that the Left expelled the Jews and was then denounced as anti-Semitic rather ruefully by the Jews, leaving them with a solo act. The two organizations function independently although within the same Weltanschauung even though the Jews were concerned with furthering only their own interests.

Bearing in mind this general survey of the music scene we move into the main area of the post-war R&R scene. Rock and Roll was the expression of the generation. While most other generations were centered on literature shading into movies, the post-war generation expressed itself through songs which is to say vinyl records seconded by movies and TV shows. The driving force behind the record industry, its sales agent, was radio.

The important radio disseminator was the disc jockey, the DJ. DJs, those who selected which 45 rpm records out of thousands that could get airplay, controlled the industry.

Prior to television the radio was the great popular communicator; radio was controlled by three networks that managed what people could hear. TV changed that. The first television screen was functional as early as the late twenties, there were broadcasts by the late thirties. Sax Rohmer in his Fu Manchu novels demonstrated how TV could be used to hypnotize although he had the wrong technique.

The war throttled the emerging technology until after war’s end when TV became commercially viable. By 1954 the death rattle of network radio was audible. The radio stations didn’t know which way to turn. At that time some bulb invented the Top 40 record format just after Bill Haley pushed rock n’ roll into the limelight.

Now, the rock n’ roll generation begins with those born in 1938 although the first artists, such as Elvis Presley, were born in 1935. Nineteen thirty-seven, then, was the cut off date for the generational divide. The 1938 cohort was the swing or transitional group. They graduated in 1956. Perhaps as little as 30% of the class of ’56 were rock n’ rollers; the class of ’57 born in 1939 and after were wholehearted rockers except for the reactionary few. The early performers after the founders were from 1935 to 1943, perhaps ’44.

So rock n’ roll preceded Top 40 radio that created the mind of the generation. Radio, nearly killed by TV, was then saved by becoming 24 hour, seven days a week rock n’ roll music radio. They said it wouldn’t work but it made station owners rich.

The idea with Top 40 radio was that only the top forty hit records could be played non-stop with only a couple new introductions every week or so. The top five were two plays per hour while a smash hit would be played every quarter hour for its stay on top. The biggest smash I can remember was Lonnie Donegan’s Rock Island Line. I once jockeyed between radio stations and succeeded in hearing the song for twenty-three straight minutes. After two weeks in the top position the DJs demoted its rotation over the objections of the radio audience. So, you can see the importance of getting the right message on the air. This was conditioning par excellence. The right message had to get through.

R&R was the propaganda machine of propaganda machines. Obviously the C&W stations were putting out the wrong propaganda while the rock n’ roll stations could be controlled to propagate the ‘correct’ attitudes. This required organization. Out of the thousands of 45 rpms produced every year as few as perhaps one or two hundred would ever find air time. This power could not be left in the hands of DJs.

One couldn’t have hundreds of disc jockeys individually selecting would could be played. So, there were promotion men who brought their releases to the dis jockeys to persuade them to play their record and not someone else’s. Actually there were only three important break out markets in the country, NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Disc jockeys in lesser markets took their cue from those three markets. The number of disc jockeys to be influenced then narrowed down to maybe a dozen.

In addition to the radio DJs the other important player was Dick Clark and his TV show American Band Stand which nearly every kid in America rushed home from school to watch. So, just because you had a potentially hit record it wasn’t worth anything unless you could get it played in a break out market or on Bandstand. Thousands of releases and a dozen men who stood in the way of getting your record played. The best way to get it played was to do favors for an important disc jockey. This could involve almost anything but the best thing was to give points in publishing. Royalties per unit were small but accrued from millions of sales of several records a year, my, how the money rolled in. Certain DJs were poised to become some of the richest men in America. Easy street for life as many of these songs popularity went on for decades. It wasn’t realized at the time that this was to be so but it was. It was too good to last. The payola scandal of the late fifties erupted in the halls of Congress. It was worse than the famous ‘Red Scare’ of the late forties and early Fifties. It was vicious and the DJs of America paid heavier penalties than any Commie ever did.

I mean, this wasn’t Communism on trial, this was rock n’ roll, worse than the Nazis, it was the greatest scourge of the millennium, it was the Devil’s music. They might only have been able to get the DJs for excess profits, but that was it; they were getting too much money for too little effort. Payola, how else were you going to get your single disc played out of thousands of which maybe a few hundreds were potential hits? It’s not like the DJs were paid to play lousy records; no record is a hit by simple exposure. Hits are made by people, many people, not just the singers or musicians themselves and when it’s right the disc sells a million. Otherwise, straight to the cutout bins.

But for Chrissakes, these DJs were corrupting the youth of America with jungle beats and rock n’ roll. Precisely. That’s what they were intended to do and that’s what the Reverends were complaining about. Didn’t anybody but these religious types get it? If the Congressmen had gotten the coded messages as well they would have been walking around in circles and stuttering for decades which, as a matter of fact, they have.

But they were only thinking of the loot. They told Dick Clark for instance that he could have his TV show or the publishing he had gotten from payola. That was like saying Dick, you can have a hundred million from your TV show or a billion from your publishing, which is it? I have no idea what the legal basis was for making such an offer but Dick opted for the TV show and let the big money ride. He discovered his mistake later and the Congressmen had they known would have approved.

Alan Freed, number one top DJ in this or any other universe felt so disgraced he committed suicide. ‘What did I do wrong?’ might have been his last moan. Who cared? He should have taken the money and run. But, that was just it, no laws had been broken put punishments were draconian.

Mom and Daddy told me:

Son, we don’t like that rock n’ roll.

You can stay boy, but that music’s got to go.

Oh but, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna

Hang up my rock n’ roll shoes.

Well, we all did eventually; rock n’ roll wasn’t really here to stay, it just kind of faded away it didn’t really die. It wasn’t quick enough for some really vociferous groups though.

 

Continue to Part II.

2 Responses to “Myth Of The Twenty-First Century III The Music Assault a.”

  1. john harlan Says:

    In the spirit of Bringing It All Back Home, the middle name of Doc Pomus is Solon.

  2. reprindle Says:

    Interesting. Another tidbit to add to the story.

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