Did you know?
That the popular music of those with money in Europe in the 17th century was what we call 'classical' now? Those who were of the masses were into folk songs which mostly still remain the same today. Folk songs actually came into being as 'singing stories' or singing telegram' which were popular in the 1930's and 40's.. Messages were carried from one place to another in rhyme so they didn't forget!
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'Rock'n' Roll'

Music has always featured in Australia's history. The indigenous people had their music and the early explorers then immigrants brought music from all areas of the planet.
What we call folk music today is actually the modern music of the first settlers. It was looked down upon by the gentry of the day who were into Mozart and other classical music, which was their 'modern' music.
So it was no surprise that when Rock'n'Roll broke loose there would be critics who didn't like, just like there are critics who don't like some styles of popular music today.

So, lets look take a look what it was like...


In the mid 50's radio in Australia was mainly made up of individual stations that were run as small businesses with the exception of maybe one or two stations in the each of the capital cities. Areas outside the cities usually had just one commercial station that covered large areas of land and many towns rather than just one town. They were owned usually by rural landholders or local town businessmen and the returns were quite minimal. They were there to serve a promotional purpose for local businesses and that's exactly what they did. Purely as a local advertising and news outlet with little connection with the outside world except for the news and some major sport events.


The music content of the stations was very wide and rather than a station having a particular style format as today, they had special programs for individual styles of music or for the music of a particular star. For example most main stations would have a Jazz style program, a Top 8 or Top 10 Hit Parade, Country music in the very early mornings and a mix match of all styles throughout the day. The announcers who later became 'Disc Jockeys' chose their own records from the library and played virtually whatever they wanted.


Hit Parades as such did not start until the mid/late 50's and like America the first ones featured a popular big band with staff singers singing the supposed most popular songs sold as sheet music. Some of these staff singers such as Bing and Frank spun off to become major stars and that started the emphases on the singer rather than the song.

After a while radio audiences wanted to hear the singers singing their own recorded songs rather than a live bands' interpretation of them, so someone started playing the top 8 vinyl's and we know what this led to ! Top 40's...Top 100's and so on ! The music industry STAR system was born!


In the 40 and 50's Australia's music tastes were satisfied by a blend of English and American music and the first Australian recorded music stars were country bush balladeers such as Tex Morton. The most popular and long lasting of these is Slim Dusty. Until his recent stroke, Reg The New Stars of Rock !

The Starlite DVD publication of 'The Roots of Australian Rock-n-Roll' will be released early 2005 to coincide with the 45th Anniversary of Australia's music industry...If you are would like to be on the e-mail list to be notified when it is due for release. Please e-mail you name, address, phone and e-mail address.

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