Thursday, April 19, 2012

Musical Hits and Misses

Complete records for the 1940 census were released this month, touching off a wave of interest among those bent on studying their family roots. 

The geezer invested a couple of hours searching the census documents.  I found my grandmother, Ottila Klade. She was 75 years old in 1940.  A few pages later, up popped mom and dad, my sister, and me.  It was fun using the search tool to travel down our street and others in the old hometown, revisiting families we knew well while I was growing up.

The census entries reveal many things about the “greatest generation.”  What were their occupations? What did they earn? How many years of education did each person have? Were they citizens? Were they born in the U.S., or elsewhere?

It appears that many people interested in various facets of American history have seen the release of the 1940 census data as a good time to develop and issue pronouncements about their areas of interest.  Zipping around the Internet, it’s easy to learn who the top sports stars were in the 40s, what models of autos were in vogue, what clothing designs were popular, and many other things, great and not so. 

Of course, we simply must know what music was favored by the greatest generation.  Several Internet sites fulfill that need.

One source says these were the top five popular songs in the 1940s:

1. In The Mood
2. When You Wish Upon a Star
3. I'll Never Smile Again
4. Only Forever
5. Body & Soul

For comparison, an unscientific survey shows these titles seemed to be the top pop songs of 2010:

1. Baby, Baby
2. Oooooh, Baby
3. Baby, Oh  Baby
4. Baby, Baby, Baby
5. Yeah, Baby, Yeah

That’s progress?


Kay Dennison said...

Thanks!!!! My parents met at a big band dance in Milwaukee -- and Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" was a favorite of theirs (and mine).

I tend to prefer the music of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Today's music mostly leaves me yawning or searching for ear plugs!

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Too sad. My Dad taught me to dance to big band music. Its still the best in my book. Never listen to pop music these days.

I will look up Census Data this summer. I worked with the information internally when I was at the Census Bureau. Heck, I have worked with Census data from 1790 forward for that matter.


Jono said...

While I prefer the music of bygone eras, I do not want to sound like my parents, "How can you listen to that crap!" But, I do understand them better.

Big John said...

"Today's music" ? I just dig all that gangsta crap, but only when I wear my cap sideways and have my pants around ma knees bro !

Kay said...

Hah! Like I said people in the Midwest have a wonderful sense of humor... like you. I sometimes think I sound like my mom when she used to tell me she didn't like the music I was listening to.

joared said...

I remember thinking I'd always keep up with the music and never be like my parents. Unfortunately, too much of the more recent evolutionary styles have taken liberty with what constitutes music for my musical soul.