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Recorded Music in American LifeThe Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890-1945$
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William Howland Kenney

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171778

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171778.001.0001

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“The Coney Island Crowd”

“The Coney Island Crowd”

The Phonograph and Popular Recordings before World War I

(p.23) 2 “The Coney Island Crowd”
Recorded Music in American Life

William Howland Kenney

Oxford University Press

In the 1890s, before the phonograph industry had time to establish what became in to the teenagers of the following century a tidy facade of domestic bourgeois respectability, another largely forgotten world of coin-operated cylinder machines spun forth raucous worlds of popular entertainment. This other, earlier, and formative phonographic world, so suggestive of the juke box circles of the 1930s, provides ample evidence that the industry planted strong roots in turn-of-the-century popular culture. Many Americans learned how to use recorded entertainment as a significant new means of holding reminders of the past in suspension with reactions to the present. The phonograph parlors of the 1890s introduced short samples of the sounds of American popular music into the public urban world of “cheap amusements”, commercialized entertainments like concert saloons, musical halls, vaudeville theaters, dime museums, and burlesque halls that flourished in the emerging bright-light neighborhoods of cities in the United States. The Coney Island Crowd continued to make disc recordings intended for domestic use up to World War I.

Keywords:   United States, Coney Island Crowd, phonograph, popular culture, popular music, concert saloons, vaudeville theaters, disc recordings, cheap amusements

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