View Full Version : HTOTM#28 Happy Tunes For A Happy New Year

Terry Porritt
31-12-2004, 05:01 PM
HTOTM = Hot Tunes Of The Month

Real Audio, or a Real alternative is required to listen to most of the tunes.

Many songs were written in the late 20s and early 30s having the word 'Happy' in the title. No doubt many of these were 'Cheer Up' songs aimed at alleviating some of the misery of The Great Depression, which hit in the middle of the jazz age, on October 29th, 1929, an age of flappers, bootleg gin, riotous living, wild music, the start of 'the talkies', electric recording, fast cars, airplane 'barnstorming', wing walking, world speed records, and just plain madness after the grimness of World War 1.

The Depression resulted in widespread unemployment, breadlines, hunger and misery, across the developed world, not just the US. Attempts were made by different governments to try to find a solution.
In Japan they were attempting to become self sufficient by creating a "Great East Asian Coprosperity Sphere", slaughtering millions of Chinese in the process, in the US Roosevelts' 'New Deal' provided work schemes, in Germany Hitlers Nazi regime built autobahns, airlines, the Volkswagon, and despite all that followed he got industry moving again. In England there was Sweet Fanny Adams happening to solve the problem until the threat of war stirred politicians into some sort of belated action.

Despite the situation, life had to go on and people managed to enjoy themselves, at the local dance halls, where they danced foxtrots to the resident hot band, or gazed in wonder and longing, from the back row of the stalls, at their favourite movie stars living a life of splendour that the ordinary person could barely imagine.

Nevertheless, both in Europe, in England, and especially in the US, the hot bands of the day managed to survive, just, records were sold, even 'cardboard' Hit of The Week 5 minute ones "from your news-stand each thursday' and some great tunes were written.

Lets listen to a few of those Happy Tunes to wish a Happy New Year to all PF1'ers.

From Paul Whiteman and his orchestra in 1930 Hollywood, Happy Feet (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/Whiteman/hapyfeet.ram) from the film 'The King of Jazz'. Hear Andy Secrest with his Bix Beiderbecke sound alike cornet playing, and Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys hamming it up. (The actual sound track version is too noisy to play, this one is a studio recording).

Filming of The King of Jazz was a bit disasterous. Many months went by hanging around in Hollywood for want of a script. During this time Bing, Bix Beiderbecke, and many of the orchestra spent their time boozing, driving aound in fast cars that Whiteman had bought them. Bix, an alcoholic had to return East and go into a sanitarium for yet another recuperation, and so missed filming when it eventually did start. Bing Crosby was thrown into jail on a drunk driving charge, and was released each day for filming, returning to jail at night.
The plot of the film is almost non-existant, and is somewhat disjointed, but it's all good fun.

To see what by todays standards is an hilarious clip, go to David Garricks site Here (http://www.dgarrick.com/broxsisters/broxsisters.php) and click on the picture of the Brox sisters to see the bench in the park sequence.

It takes a while to download, it's 6.2MB, however sometimes this site is down.

Across the Atlantic in England in 1932 Jack Hylton and his orchestra was playing Happy Go Lucky You (And Broken Hearted Me) (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/happygoluckyyou.ram)with vocal by Pat O'Malley.

In 1930, the Ben Selvin orchestra was optimistically playing from the show 'Chasing Rainbows', the cheer up tune, Happy Days Are Here Again (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/selvin/happydaysarehereagain.ram).

Before The Depression hit, Roger Wolfe Kahn was playing a number he composed for the 1927 musical comedy 'Hit The Deck', called Sometimes I'm Happy (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/kahn/sometimesimhappy.ram). Being the son of a millionaire banker, he was able to hire some of the best white musicians of the day, the Dorseys, Miff Mole, and many others, but I can't say that about his vocalists, who were still singing in the high falsetto fashion of the day. That is, until Bing Crosby showed them how to do it, then everyone wanted to sound like Bing, just like all trumpet players wanted to sound like either Louis or Bix.

Meanwhile, the black bands were making their own music, a bit more earthy than the white bands who were playing for 'genteel' folk.
Here are The Musical Stevedores with the great Louis Metcalfe on trumpet, in 1929, with their version of Happy Rhythm (http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/misc/happyrhythm.ram) composed by that versatile musician, arranger, and bandleader, Clarence Williams.

Here is a catchy tune from Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, also in 1929, Let Me Sing, And I'm Happy (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/waring/letmesing.ram).

In 1927, Ted Lewis, was entertaining audiences with one of his typical tunes, from the show 'Artists and Models', Is Everbody Happy Now? (http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/Misc/happynow.ram). Listen to him really hamming it up, tongue in cheek, with his old fashioned style of clarinet playing.

Lets finish this session with another version of Happy Days Are Here Again with my favourite female singer Annette Hanshaw (http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/hanshaw/HappyDaysAreHereAgain.ram).


31-12-2004, 05:37 PM
Jolly frustrating when people don't appreciate the things we love. Well it is for me anyway :)

Terry Porritt
31-12-2004, 06:01 PM
One day, Cicero, maybe, just maybe, one of the 14 year old PressF1'ers will say, "Hey, man that music is really cool", (even though it is 'hot') and then I will know I have not lived my life in vain :p

Terry Porritt
01-01-2005, 03:06 PM
Artie Shaw died on 30th December aged 94.

He was probably the last living link with the legendary Bix Beiderbecke, here is what Artie Shaw said about Bix in an interview with him:

"When I started I had no conception of what I wanted to do, other than learn to play a chromatic scale. My first thought was to be able to play the horn well enough to get a job in a band and support myself. My idol was Bix Beiderbecke and he was doing things in jazz that had never been done by a white musician before. He was an enormous influence on me."
(aknowledgement to Albert Haim for the source)


Murray P
03-01-2005, 10:30 PM
Thanks for the tunes TP :thumbs:

04-01-2005, 08:52 AM
Terry, did you write that?

Terry Porritt
04-01-2005, 10:04 AM
Terry, did you write that?

I'm not sure Greg, which passage you are refering to.

The passage quoting Artie Shaw came from here ( 22+book&hl=en), a reference given by Albert Haim webmaster of the Bixography Discussion Forum.

Terry Porritt
04-01-2005, 10:12 AM
Maybe you meant the main screed? Of course, all my own work.
For those who missed out on earlier Hot Tunes Of The Week, just put HTOTW into the search box :D

04-01-2005, 10:58 AM
Maybe you meant the main screed?

Yep. Nicely written.