“Damn Good Jazz”

Music, Radio, and Dance
  • Kelly Schrum
Part of the Girls’ History and Culture book series (GHC)


Music is similar to beauty products and clothing in many ways—a cultural commodity, mass-produced and consumed in a primarily segmented market. In common with other cultural forms previously discussed, music simultaneously marks teen identity and incorporates teens into the adult world of consumption. But it is also different in important ways. A man’s button-down shirt may be intended for wear over a T-shirt, under a suit, and with a tie to reflect a certain business status. But a teenage girl might purchase that same shirt in the men’s department or borrow it from her father’s closet with an entirely different purpose in mind. If she writes the name of her favorite singer or song lyrics on the shirt, embroiders it with brightly colored thread, and then wears the shirt untucked, unbuttoned at the neck, and over her jeans, she redefines the meaning of that shirt. Music, especially recorded music, is a more fixed entity.2


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    For a discussion of reading popular culture and examining multiple meanings in popular culture, see John Fiske, Understanding Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 1991).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Theodor W Adorno, with George Simpson, “On Popular Music,” in Studies in Philosophy and Social Science 9 (New York: Institute of Social Research, 1941), 25–42.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Ross Firestone, Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life and Times of Benny Goodman (New York: W W Norton and Co., 1993), 149Google Scholar
  4. Philip K. Eberly, Music in the Air: Americas Changing Tastes in Popular Music, 1920–1980 (New York: Hastings House, 1982), 86.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lewis Erenberg, “Things to Come: Swing Bands, Bebop, and the Rise of a Postwar Jazz Scene,” in Lary May, ed., Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989), 224–26Google Scholar
  6. Peter Gammond, The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991), 290–94Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    James Lincoln Collier, Benny Goodman and the Swing Era (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), 190–92Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, Bicentennial ed. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), 796Google Scholar
  9. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1999, 119th ed. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999), 885.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    Paul Witty, Sol Garfield, and William Brink, “Interests of High-School Students in Motion Pictures and the Radio,” Journal of Educational Psychology 32 (March 1941): 176–84, italics in original; Alice P. Sterner, Radio, Motion Picture, and Reading Interests: A Study of High School Pupils (New York: Teachers College, Columbia Univ., 1947), 31–36.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    Your Hit Parade was also known as Hit Parade and Lucky Strike Hit Parade. Eberly, Music in the Air, 126–30; Russell Sanjek, American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four Hundred Years, v. 3, From 1900 to 1984 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), 87Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    Laurette Virginia Pizer, “The Radio Is Democratic,” Saplings (New York: Scholastic Publishing Co., 1940), 68–69.Google Scholar
  13. 31.
    Bryn Mawrtyr (1937), 11; Forester (1937), 50; Bryn Mawrtyr (1939), 16; Towers, Notre Dame of Maryland Preparatory School (1943), 14; Quid Nunc (1943), 43; Cecilia McGee, “Modern Graduate,” Westward Ho (1940), n.p.; Helen Daufmann, “From Ragtime to Swing: A Short History of ‘Popular Music,’” Scholastic 32 (April 30, 1938): 29–32.Google Scholar
  14. 50.
    Peiss, Cheap Amusements, 89; Angela McRobbie, “Dance and Social Fantasy,” in Angela McRobbie and Mica Nava, Gender and Generation (London: MacMillan, 1984), 130–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 57.
    J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., v. 8 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 244–45Google Scholar
  16. J. E. Lighter, ed., Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, v. 2 (New York: Random House, 1997), 285Google Scholar
  17. Harold Wentworth and Stuart B. Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 2d sup. ed. (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975 [1962]), 293.Google Scholar
  18. 61.
    Gammond, Oxford Companion, 138–39; Neil McCaffrey, “I Remember Frankee,” in Steven Petkov and Leonard Mustazza, eds., The Frank Sinatra Reader (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1995), 17–21Google Scholar
  19. 64.
    Bliven, “The Voice,” 14; Petkov and Mustazza, The Frank Sinatra Reader, 18; E. J. Kahn, Jr., “Phenomenon: II,” 35; “The Sinatra Effect,” in Gene Lees, Singers and the Song (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987), 101–15.Google Scholar
  20. 66.
    Lisa Lewis, Gender, Politics, and MTV: Voicing the Difference (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1990), 149Google Scholar
  21. Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs, Re-making Love: The Feminization of Sex (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1986), 10–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kelly Schrum 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly Schrum

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations