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We view the world not as it is but as we are, here's my view ~


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Artist/Author/Gardener/Mother/ Friend Trying to live with heart and meaning. "I'm responsible for the effort, not the outcome." I need to remember this so I won't be disappointed when my best efforts don't bring the sought-after results. Walking lightly on the earth...trying to take only what I need. Constantly reorganizing my life and myself..."till by turning, turning (we) come round right." (Borrowed from an old Shaker Hymn.)


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APRIL 8, 2009 1:40PM

The Greatest Generation: Music, fads, facts.

Rate: 2 Flag

I have a fascination with the 30's & 40's era.  Music has always been a reliable source depicting a society's time-line.  Looking at the music that came out of this period portrays the style and emotions of a sturdy people.  I love the songs produced in this era.  

"You Made me Love You" and "I'll be Seeing You" capsulate this time.    Young lovers embracing a world shrouded in turmoil across the ocean with the eventual shock of no longer being mere spectators of a world going to war but knowing they are now  participants.  

"As Time Goes By", revised for  newer generations and linked to the movie, "Casablanca", is an all-time favorite. "Sentimental Journey's" lazy rhythm depicts the era's charm. "If I didn’t Care" performed by The Ink Spots along with "Stormy Weather" performed in the slow, sexy style of Lena Horne captures the mood.  Al Jolson's "Rock-a-bye Your Baby with the Dixie Melody" opened up a place for black performers to express their culture.  Bojangles, the highest paid black performer of all time, didn't sing but danced his way onto the Vaudville stage before Broadway's birth as the next, great milestone stage.

"Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland is probably the most performed song from various artists throughout the ages.  "Mockingbird Hill" sung by many performers, including Doris Day, is reminiscent of an innocent age. 

 The Big Bands with soul piercing, moody saxaphones, attracted couples onto wooden dance floors across the country with such greats as Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman and others performing songs like "The Sunny Side of the Street" , "Moonlight Serenade", "Woodchopper’s Ball", "A string of Pearls ", "Goody, Goody", "Tuxedo Junction" and other toe tappers.  Other greats from this era are Ella Fitzgerald who trademarks this time, along with Billie Holliday, Lena Horne and many others.

The look…crispy white sailor suits, stiletto heels, ruby-red lips, finger-waves, padded shoulders, pin-striped pants, wing-tip shoes.  The style was pure class and good looks.


~Photos are courtesy of sinsandneedles.etsy.com   The designer is Kimberlee Isom Grindstaff.  See her amazing collection online. 

War heroes; the war... everyone got behind.  Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism and a special correspondent for NBC News takes credit for coining the phrase, "The Greatest Generation".   In his own words, "It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced."  It took awhile to capsulize this era in a name, a mere ten years ago, but it sure sounded good the first time I heard it and, for most of us, seemed a perfect fit.

If you're interested in reading more about Mr. Brokaw and the generation who came of age during the great depression and World War ll go to http://www.cnn.com/books/news/9901/20/tom.brokaw/    This site was fascinating as I read through it.  He wrote about this generation in his best-selling book:  "The Greatest Generation".  His praise is heavy, but he knows that there were shortcomings. "This was not a perfect generation," he says. "They made mistakes along the way -- they let racism go on too long. They were too slow to respond to the place of women in our society. But taken collectively they came out of a very difficult time -- the Depression, when economically there was so little hope in this country, and they succeeded on every front."

Some good movies to see depicting this time period are "In Love and War" about young Ernest Hemingway serving in war-torn Italy during World War II (starring Chris O'Donnell and Sandra Bulloch); "Saving Private Ryan" with Tom Hanks and, of course, "Pearl Harbor".  The Hollywood version with Ben Affleck really touched me deeply; so much so that the next evening I watched The National Geographic's journalistic version, narrated by Tom Brokaw.  It amazed me how closely the first one followed the real-life event.  I just couldn't get enough of the contrasts in our country before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor; everything changed within moments.  We went from an innocent age of "Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" to "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company-B". 

If you want to view how this was affecting the enemy's homeland, watch "Swing Kids", starring a young Christian Bale.  You'll observe how the general population in Natzi Germany were responding to Hitler's terrorism and bullying tactics within his own country and towards his own people.  Observe how the youth rebelled by creating underground dance halls playing the popular, albeit banned, Swing and Big Band compositions outlawed thoughout Germany due to the Jewish heritage of many of the composers and performers.  It was sad to see these kids fighting back with the only ammunition they had, free spirits!  This movie is  one of the best-made films I've ever seen.  Your feet will start tapping and your eyes start running.  Suitable for all audiences, except the very young.

I plan on reading and watching movies and documentaries of this time period a lot more.  I love things set in this age; including the classic cars of the 30's and 40's. That unique smell in the interior and the eye to detail spells quality of product and workmanship in a new, plastic world.

I wonder if mine and other's fascination with this time period stems from finding ourselves on the brink of a similar state of affairs; on the verge of another great depression, young men and women going off to a war that most everyone would like to see end and bring our troops home.  The threat of a possible World War lll, or the war to really end all wars, looms as a real threat of actually bringing humanity to extinction.

Adendum:  I just saw "Boy in the Striped Pajamas".  Watch it if you can stomach it and can get those two dear little boys out of your mind.  "Though they killed six million, in the ovens they fried, the Germans now too had...God on their side."  Joan Baez

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Before I read this MC, always post a comment after you post a blog to get it in the feed. It gets it seen. :-) Just a helpful hint and not selfish.
WONDERFUL post! I am really, really into nostalgic music, film and biographies as well. I really loved this post.
Wonderful post. When I was caring for my mom in the last years of her life, we shared the movies and music of her generation. You just brought it back for me. Rated.
I'm definitely with you on the music and the fashions, and even a lot of the movies set in that time period.

But "Swing Kids" has to stand as one of my least favorite movies of all time. To each his own, though, and I enjoyed reading your post.
Kind of Blue: Thanks for your helpful hint, I wondered if there was something more I should be doing. :-) Also, your kind remarks, I'm glad this made some sense and sparked some feeling response.
Red Stocking G'ma: I also appreciate the things you said. I'm glad I helped rekindle some memories.
I'm glad you liked the music and fashions from this time period. It's hard to imagine anyone disliking Swing Kids. I thought it depicted how it probably was and was based on fact. I can't get my son-in-law to watch it...he doesn't like musicals, not that that's what this is, but it just isn't his cup of tea either. I loved watching them dance and the music. Thanks for your comment and taking the time to read this!
I think it is a lovely article! And I agree with everything 100%! You went over many of my favorite things! And Again thank you so much for featuring sinsandneedles! You are a lovely person!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and leave a comment. It's fun to get feedback on the things we write. I think we would do well to remember this time period, watch and observe how "The Greatest Generation" got through it and take what we can from their wisdom and add revised things we will be needing to get through our own trials in this newer age of similar threats but with more powerful, far-reaching consequenses.