LIFE THROUGH RETRO MUSIC
Roaring 50s. For those born in the 50s, they were lulled with popular music or what has been referred to as vocal driven classic pop melodies. It replaced the big band/swing which was the fad at the end of World War II. Yet singers during this period still rely on orchestras as their back up. The 50s generation singers integrated country, western, rhythm and blues and folk music into the musical mainstream. And each musical score was a miniature story, with a specific vocalist casted for its performance.
Patti Page unfolded the decade’s biggest hit “Tennessee Waltz” and it was followed by “Mockin Bird Hill.” These two songs, along with several hits, were virtually the national anthem of urban denizens in the country. These were familiar hymns whenever mothers (mine included) and young ladies during the period, would croon and mimic the singer including the tune’s deflections. My toddler ears became repository of these sweet musical score for a decade.
Patti was followed by an equally famous singer with silky and smooth voice Frank Sinatra who rendered hit songs like “Young Heart” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.” It was a period of swooning voices succeeded by Tony Bennet, Doris Day and then Nat King Cole. In the Philippines, there was a lot imitation including how the singers project until there were singers who would perform as “Patti Page of the Philippines” “Frank Sinatra of the Philippines” so on and so forth. In the later part, Elvis Presley would be introduced via Pop alternating with Rock.
The Sweet 60s. The 60s would be a defining moment for musical history. This would be the melting pot of all forms of musical scores from pure instrumental to vocal rendition not only by one singer but a blending of several singers (Beach Boys, Everly Brothers, Peter and Gordon, among others). In North America, rock music spawned numerous effects and became rock and roll. The musical evolution came through the advancement of technology. Asia became one of the repositories of these trends.
In the Philippines, there were serious and hilarious versions alternating with their counterparts abroad. There was the Tionco Brothers, Dolphy and Panchito, Big 3 Sullivan, etc.
It has been said that from a classical point of view, the 60s were an important decade as it saw the development of experimental jazz and contemporary classical music, notably minimalism and free improvisation. Several western popular music groups such as The Beatles rose under said performance.
The Turbulent 70s. The 70s were marked the fusion of several musical influences from all over the world. During this period, it saw the rise of disco which became one of the biggest genres. In the Philippines, the foundation of OPM or original Pilipino music also became the template of the period. Band music as well as well crafted songs sang by equally smooth vocal artists and their rendition became a fad which almost overlapped Western music. There was Manila Sound which virtually ruled the air and the likes of Rico Puno, Hotdog Band, VST and company, Cinderella among others equally competent had their records titling foreign recording companies at the tills.
The soft 80s. Music in the 80s was of the hybrid kind. It was a combination of several sources of sounds, the blending of voices and notes, ethnic and country, eclectic and traditional, manual and metallic resonance. It witnessed the emergence of dance music and new wave. As the term disco fell out of fad, post disco and dance pop became more popular. Sub genres such as glam metal and shred guitar characterized by heavy distortion, pinch storm and smooth jazz predominate air waves.
Asia emerged as an influential zone in music with the entry of Japanese and Korean versions of metallic music. The Philippine contribution to the music industry was the tender voices of its singers.
The Glamourous 90s. Pop music in the 90s was a continuation of teen pop and dance pop trends which had emerged in previous years. Hip hop grew and continued to be highly successful in the decade. Aside from rap, reggae, contemporary and urban music remained extremely popular, the previous years’ style blended with soul, funk and jazz resulting in fusion genres such as hip hop soul and neo soul music.
It was also during this period when the last juke box was discarded and karaoke music became the trade mark of the decade. This was also a period when technology was beginning to radicalize not only the music industry but the entire lifestyle of a laid back generation. Internet was beginning to see the light of mass consumption and utilization. The world was about to shrink and about to be flattened.
The Robotic 2000s. The decade of 2000s was also the crowning of Michael Jackson as King of Pop (although he never completed the decade with his death in 2009). Music in this decade was nondescript as pop music fragmented into smaller trends. On the whole, the musical attribute of the decade can be distinguished through the mainstream usage of pitch correction software Auto-Tune as well as the rise of the internet media player programmes such as itunes and music and video sharing websites such as YouTube.
Music during this period has turned outside-in. Unlike before when one had to open the music box to be heard by all, this time around, one merely has to pluck out his gadget, attach an earphone and he gets the music he wants all by himself. Music in this decade has become very personalistic, highly individualized and almost a private concern.
To date, there is no music, as it was defined years ago, to speak of from the collective or social point of view. The only music that is retained in the air are pure melodies which has familiar ring from years past.
This generation has been deprived of colourful emotions which the previous generation had enjoyed heartily to the hilt.