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REMEMBER WHEN MUSIC WAS TUNEFUL?
 
It is sometimes said that people were happier in the fifties than today.  I wonder if this could be partly due to having more music in our lives.

In earlier times, the BBC's Home, Light and Third programmes, used to broadcast music of all kinds during the day and evening.  There were
big bands, dance orchestras, accordion bands, Hawaiian serenaders, banjoliers, mandoliers, jazz bands, octets, sextets, theatre organs, and so on.  All had their own individual sounds, and they were tuneful.

The popular classics could be heard in lunch-time and evening symphony concerts, and most days would include a military band concert.   Whether working or not, "Music While You Work" was our cue for coffee and tea breaks.  The evening might be rounded off by late night dance music, perhaps by Lou Preager's band from the Hammersmith Palais.
 
Most of that music was "live" or specially recorded on tape.  There were strict regulations governing the use of gramophone records, or "needle time" as it was called.
 
Our everyday lives could be helped along by music on the radio.  Does anyone remember Fred Hartley's theme song: "Life is Nothing Without Music"?  How true it could be today.
 
It was in the mid sixties when things went wrong.  The BBC tried to replace the pop pirates by Radio One, with Radio Two converging with it, after starting as a poor substitute for the Light Programme.  As commercial radio became legalised, hundreds of pop stations sprang up all over Britain.  Music as we knew it had become almost completely ousted  by pop.
 
The trend is understandable.  Commercial stations make their money from advertising.  Young people have the money to respond to it, and young people like pop music.  That is straight logic, and we don't want to deny the young their pleasure, but is it fair to deny the middle aged and elderly their choice of music?  Would it not be better for the BBC to satisfy these groups instead of competing with the pop stations?
 
And I don't mean with just a few scratchy old 78's and "golden oldies".  I find it hard to believe that new tuneful music is no longer written, but if all its writers get the same reply from publishers: "We are interested only in the current pop scene", what hope is there?  Where the established music industry has failed, does new technology provide a solution with self publishing and the internet?
 
The fact remains.  The older generation deserve the real experience of their kind of music, and not just memories of it.  A worrying thought perhaps is that, as time goes by, there will be fewer people to remember what we have lost.

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