© Warren Fahey
As the cities grew, including many ‘new Australian’ migrants, the music changed to reflect their urban edge. One of the major influences was ‘the wireless, as the radio was called. Radio, especially from the early 1940s, relied on ‘live’ studio music and especially dance music, light classics and what was referred to as ‘country and western music’. Some of this country music lent on the old music of the bush but it was predominantly American country music re-recorded by Australian artists – including an American twang. Hollywood films that featured the songs of Gene Autry and Tex Ritter influenced much of it.
Australia’s participation in war also influenced our music landscape. WW1 and WW2 had a particular impact as we readily supported our allies by embracing whatever popular songs were being played on radio or sold on gramophone records. We also created our own parodies and ditties about the wartime experience.
Refer to my book ‘Diggers’ Songs’ published by Australian Military History Press, Loftus, for a comprehensive survey of the music Australians sang in the eleven wars (at that time) we had fought in.
In the early 1930s Australia, along with most of the western world, experienced a bitter economic depression. Once again we responded by creating songs and ditties to tell of this experience.
Refer to my book ‘Ratbags & Rabblerousers’ Currency Press, Sydney, which details the music of this period. This book was previously released as ‘The Balls of Bob Menzies’, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
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