The 50 Best Songs of the 1920s
For the intents and purposes of Colin’s Review, “modern” music coincides with the advent of commercial recording technology in the 1910s, which makes the 1920s the first full decade of popular music. Even though the music in this 50 Best Songs of the 1920s list was written 100 years ago, this is where all contemporary trends begin.
After World War I, society was searching for a reason to feel good again. The mass production of 78 rpm records came along at the perfect time — music was now widely available and belonged to everyone. This newfound form of communication led to a wide range of cultural icons and innovators who performed and perfected a plethora of genres, old and new.
In my list of the 50 Best Songs of the 1920s, the gamut of early pop music is represented — from the invention of jazz by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Duke Ellington to the early pop stylings of Hoagy Carmichael and Paul Whiteman; from the Piedmont blues of Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Willie McTell, to the Delta blues of Charley Patton; from the first country records by Jimmie Rodgers and Eck Robertson to the Appalachian folk of Bascom Lamar Lunsford; from Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton to Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.
And so, without further ado, here are my 50 Best Songs of the 1920s.