This paper tries to look at some of the greatest musician of all times to ever walk on the face of the world. The methodology that we are going to adapt for the essence of this debate will be based on the musician influence in relation to fun base and popularity during their time.
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It will also use their success in the music industry which will be gauged by the number of times their records have held the first position in the billboards and also the number of record sells not only in America, but in the rest of the world. The source material for this discussion will include journals and articles that give reference to the musician’s success and influence during their time.
It is critical to mention that between 1870-1950 music and performance was on an upsurge, it was not until after the 1950 that most of the musicians and bands rose to make the most world changing hits that have gone down in history as the top fifty greatest songs with only one being of pre-1950 to make on the list.
The song by Hank Williams “I’m so lonesome I could cry” is the only song from the top fifty greatest songs to be featured before 1950. The two musicians this debate will focus on will include Harry Launder and Hank Williamsas the casing point (Brackett7).
Harry Launder is one of the greatest musicians and a performer in the Scottish and British realm.The entertainer was born in 1870 in Portobello Edinburgh to a John Launder a designer in China artefacts and Isabella a descendant from the black isle. Harry Launder started his early careerby working at the coal mines at the tender age of thirteen years and also realised his potential in singing at the time. He started performing his music shortly after getting married to Anna Vallance in 1891 (Gordon20).
Launders first professional performance took place at a local Lark hall where he used to make about five shillings each night. He later moved to perform at the “go-as-you please” which was amore prestigious event in the town and made him prominent among the local community.
Fame and fortune for Harry Launder came around 1905 when he successfully led a troop of pantomimes known as the Howard and Wyndham. This catapulted Launder to become one of the greatest performers in England and these lead to various contracts and music deals. Launder was estimated to earn £1000 a night for his performances in the United States by the year 1911. In the following year Launder topped the charts in Britain becoming the first British in the history of entertainment(Graeme25).
Some of the greatest hits by Harry Launder include “Roamin in the Gloamin”, “I love a Lassie”, “Keep right unto the end of the road” and “A wee Deoch-an-Doris”. These songs made Launder the highest paid performer of his time with an estimated amount of £12,700 for each performance (Williams 138; Lauder 14).
During his forty year music career, Launder had made twenty two visits to the United States and a couple of other trips to Australia with his own train. Other accolades to his title include being knighted after the world war one for raising £1million for the troops to be rehabilitated and inculcated to the society.
According to the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Harry Launder had rendered to the Scottish race and entire British Empire an immeasurable service through his music and philanthropy. Harry Launder died in 1950 at the age of 79 years leaving behind a legacy of songs, books and films that he had written or stirred in (William70).
The other musician to make history in the music industry was Hank Williams. He was born in 1923 with his birth name being Hiram King William (Brackett 32). Hiram would later change his name to Hank which sounded well according to him in country songs.
In 1937, Hank would start his career in a radio station WSFA with the producer offering him a program of 15 minutes as the host with a salary of $15. This was after Hank had won a talent show at the Empire theatre pocketing the grand price of $15. With the rising popularity Hank would go on to form a band with the money he got from the radio show which he called “the drifting cowboys”, and this eventually led him to quit school.Hank would record songs like “Never again” and “Honky Tonkin” which did not do better.
It was only after releasing the song “Move it on over”, that fame and fortune started to stream in.In1948,he signed a recording contract with MGM records. The following year, Hank went on to release “Love sick blues” which propelled his music to the mainstream media thus increasing his popularity as a singer. According to Helander (9), Hank was estimated to make $1000 at this point in his career for every performance he went.
It is important to mention that, Hank had eleven number one songs in the American chart since 1948-1953 making him the most successful American musician of his time and also the most popular America singer only for his record to be broken by the likes of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson in years after (Flippo16)
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Other hits by Hank that have gone down in history of music include “You’re cheatin heart”, “Hey, Good looking” and “I’m so lonesome I could cry”. Even though by this time Hank had become a star, he nevertheless had issues that cut off his career and life.
Excessive consumption of alcohol and morphine and other painkillers saw him being divorced by his wife and being kicked out of the band. Hank died in 1953 at the tender age of 29 years (Graeme 38). Hanks songs and composition have been used by other musicians in different fields such as pop, blues, gospel and even rock which have become instant hits (Wallace 84)
In conclusion, it is critical to mention that the above artists even though they have a divergent appeal in relation to their music genre, their success is varied in regards to one opinion.It is crucial to mention that they made music that changed the world and entertained their audience even years after they themselves had gone.
They achieved musical success at their time that made them become icons of their time. This aspect has been proved by both fame and fortune that this musicians were able to produce through their songs and lastly and the most important legacy to leave behind is their music which up to date resonate to the audience delight.
Brackett, David. Interpreting popular music. New York: University of California Press. 2000. Print.
Flippo, Chet. Your cheatin’ heart: a biography of Hank Williams. London: Plexus. 1997. Print.
Gordon,Irving. Great Scot! The life story of Sir Harry Lauder, legendary laird of the music hall. London:Plexus 1968. Print.
Graeme, Smith.The Theatre Royal: Entertaining a Nation. Saddle River: Cengage, 2008. Print.
Helander, Brock. The rockin’ ’50s: the people who made the music. New York: Schirmer Books. 2010. Print.
Lauder, Harry.The Ancestry of Sir Harry Lauder, in the Scottish Genealogist, Edinburgh:Sage.2006. Print.
Wallace, Lewes. Harry Lauder in the Limelight.London: OUP. 1988. Print.
Williams, Lycrecia, Vinicur, Dale. Still in Love with You: Hank and Audrey Williams. London: Thomas Nelson Incorporated: 1991. Print.