The 1920s were an era of great contradictions. After winning WWI, the United States seemed to be (on the surface) a more liberated country than previously, finally shaking off the restrictions of the Victorian era. Dresses became shorter, many more women entered the workforce, dancing became more exciting and sensuous, some movies actually hinted strongly at sex, the economy was prosperous, and jazz seemed to be everywhere as the country experienced something like a decade-long party [known as The Jazz Age and The Roaring 20s].
But a closer look reveals Republicans ruled the White House, liquor was illegal (even if gangsters and bootleggers made it widely available), the Ku Klux Klan was at the height of its popularity (with lynchings of blacks commonplace), racism was institutionalized, big business had few restrictions, poverty was widespread, and there was no safety net. It was a great era to be rich and white, but the poor and blacks were barely tolerated by average middle-class citizens. –Scott Yanow, author of CLASSIC JAZZ*

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The above puts Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 nonstop transatlantic flight (see my last post) in broader historical context. ‘Fellow’ aviator Elinor Smith Sullivan later said, “It’s hard to describe the impact Lindbergh had on people. The twenties was such an innocent time.” This helps explain why songs like LINDBERGH, EAGLE OF THE USA and LUCKY LINDY were written by wantwits with words which would make wittier writers wince.

Thus, the wittiest composer/lyricist this side of the Atlantic, Cole Porter, put the Jazz Age in earthier terms:

In other words….

Our flight of fancy, like Lindbergh’s, ends in gay Paree with a song (recorded in 1930) from Porter’s 1929 musical FIFTY MILLION FRENCHMEN:

*Kindle edition available online for as low as $17.99 (highly recommended for classic jazz lovers)





15 comments on “JAZZ DAYS IN THE JAZZ AGE

  1. calmkate says:

    What a great collection … that performer in the first one did it exceptionally well 🙂

    Why don’t you write poetry anymore?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. mistermuse says:

    Glad you enjoyed them, Kate.
    As for the kitchen door, I don’t have a cow shed for the moon to shine over, so I guess we’re out of luck — as is anyone else who’s trying to figure out what we’re talking about. 🙂


  3. restlessjo says:

    Love this version of Let’s Misbehave. What a magnetic personality 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Don Frankel says:

    Since the booze was flowing the dresses were coming it must have been…

    Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse says:

      Billie is absolutely Easy To Love on this one, Don….especially when backed by the great Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra. Incidentally, this recording was made three days after I was born — I wonder if they had me in mind when they recorded it?


  5. Enjoyable unique entertainment.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mistermuse says:

    My pleasure. In my opinion, the music and songs of that era have never been surpassed for pure listening pleasure.


  7. I love the first performer with her rendition of Let’s Misbehave. She does a terrific job.

    Cole Porter is a gem. The songs are catchy and amusing and smart.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. The Roaring Twenties have certainly been glamourized, but there is the other side of the coin.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. mistermuse says:

    Right you are!

    Cole Porter didn’t have much of a singing voice, but the clip is fascinating nonetheless because it’s interesting to hear how famous songwriters of yesteryear sounded. Several of them (Harold Arlen, for example) actually had very good voices.


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