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vocal pop

America's vocal pop tradition of late 1940's to the 1960's arose from the so-called "sweet" ( i.e. more melodic ) bands of the swing era, and was dominated by artists like Bing Crosby, Vic Damone, Dick Haymes, the "Rat Pack" singers ( Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin ), Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Perry Como. They relied to a large extent on old Tin Pan Alley favourites, Broadway and Hollywood standards, or on people who wrote songs especially for them. One of these, Jimmy Van Heusen, was dubbed "Sinatra's composer", having written a such a large number of songs for him, probably the most well-known of which is 1958's "Come Fly With Me".
Another branch of vocal pop consisted of clean-cut harmony groups like The Four Freshman and The Four Preps, who derived their style from 1940's barber shop. They are known to have had a big influence on Brian Wilson as he was growing up, an influence all too clear in the music of The Beach Boys.
Like so many other styles, vocal pop's heyday was ended with the coming of rock & roll.
The tradition has nevertheless continued to find an audience, with singers like Bobby Darin and Barbra Streisand, Jack Jones and Michael Bolton taking it forward to today, where it survives in the hands of performers such as Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble and Jamie Cullum.

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Prominent songwriters

Jimmy Van Heusen
Bart Howard
Harry Warren
George Cory
Irving Gordon
Victor Young
Jay Livingston
Bert Kaempfert
Bacharach & David
C. Carson Parks


audio : Vocal Pop Home Page

books : about Pop


audio : Pop Home Page

books : about Music