Sweet Music Came before Rock Music. Delancy Place’s daily emailed blog notes the changes to popular music after World War II.
“Ever wonder why popular music was so saccharine before the arrival of rock ‘n’roll? Because teenagers and college students wanted it that way — they wanted a type of music that came to be known as ‘sweet music.’ And they largely avoided fast music. They had just endured a war with over 70 million casualties, the atomic bomb, and the emergence of the significantly more powerful hydrogen bomb.”
A couple dancing liked to hear the encouraging words of “Linger in my arms a little longer, baby.” Music had a sugary quality; “Buttons and Bows,” and “The Tennessee Waltz.” We listened to plaintive heartbreak in “I’m Trying to Forget You, but try as I may, you’re still my every heart dear, every day.”
Some of us tried the Charleston to the revised sedate Dixieland of the day. Jazz disappeared, then began a return under discordant Dave Brubeck. It took awhile, but along came Chubby Checker with The Twist. Soon The Swim took over the dance floor, Everyone got used to “Bebop Spoken Here.”
Today music has progressed to the point where I still get the beat, but don’t ask me what the words are.
Read about it in Ben Yagoda’s The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song.