For the record, whatever happened to music like this and why did it disappear? The most obvious answer would seem to be “the evolution of fashion and style.” While this song had its rightful place with a certain past generation it now seems to have outgrown the popularity of that era. I don’t think that it had anything to do with the abilities of artists such as Tony Bennet. He was a great singer in his own right with a style that people liked, but while “he” didn’t change, the industry “just changed around him.” If you have ever seen some of the current stars of today in concert, just examine the difference between them and this artist from the past:
Now let’s examine this. In this video you see a clean cut man (Tony Bennet) singing to an orchestra (You can’t see them, but they can be heard). He is dressed neatly in a suit and bow tie. The music is soft, and he doesn’t move or dance much when he sings. In fact, he practically just stands there. When they discovered artists who could sing “and” dance more they realized that there was a stronger popularity for these types of performers. When Elvis came on the scene he gyrated a LOT, and people ate it up. When you compare Elvis and Tony Bennett you obviously get contrasting styles. Also, when the Beatles came along they didn’t move as much as Elvis, but their music had a different flair to it. With their special Beatle haircuts they had their own individuality and style that helped to sell them. As the music scene evolved artists were promoted more in accordance to their marketing power. Some of it had to do with talent (but as the years rolled on even that seemed to change). Today’s record labels are less concerned with how well a performer can sing, so they choose instead to focus on their marketability. They actually try to make a new artist into a star through the concept of promotion. Why not? It seems a lot of today’s artists aren’t really singing anyway. That means they can focus more on the look and anything else unique that they think will give them an edge over other artists. Will music like this ever come back? I can’t imagine it coming back the same way it is here. First off, it is tough to bring orchestras to perform for an artist. They are costly and bulky, because they take up room and you have to pay them. Now synthesizers have come into play to cover string sounds (and horns, etc.), and in many cases tape (with samples) are dominating concerts now. With tape and samples you have even less people to pay. Musicians may be seen onstage, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily heard. Now many play along with the track (for the visual effect) and chances are you will hear more of the tape than you will the artist. That will go for the background vocals as well as lead parts. It makes it easier for the engineer to handle when it comes to mixing the sounds. In other words, in today’s music there are more fakers than performers. There will always be fans of Tony Bennett. However, it is extremely tough to sell a new generation on the concept of an old artist. So to answer the question of what happened to this type of music? That answer is very simple: “Money.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Jerry Butler in concert with Brett Jolly on bass