Timeline of Music in The United States (1920–1949) - 1925


Mid-1920s music trends
  • Henry Ford helps usher in what he refers to as a "square dance revival".
  • Scholars and collectors of folk songs become increasingly concerned about the authenticity of the blues they were recording and describing.
  • Hall Johnson and Eva Jessye lead a number of professional choirs to fame, bringing media attention to the concert-arranged African American spiritual.
  • Sylvester Weaver, Lonnie Johnson and Papa Charlie Jackson are among a number of male solo vaudeville performers to begin recording attempts at popular blues, but Blind Lemon Jefferson's recordings in 1925 kicked off a wave of like-minded acts.
  • Record companies begin recording and marketing to Mexican Americans in California.
  • A more traditional sound in Finnish American commercial recordings supplants the earlier format, which was based around semi-classical performance.
  • With the advent of national radio broadcasting companies, large businesses begin to sponsor a single show in its entirety. By 1927, as much as half of the total budget at major advertising companies is spent on radio.
  • The Aeolian Company's Pianola, a barrel organ, becomes widespread. The barrel organ will do more to spread musical knowledge in the United States than anything until the gramophone.
  • John Harrington Cox, archivist and editor for the West Virginia Folklore Society, publishes a collection of folk songs called Folk-Songs of the South: Collected Under the Auspices of the West Virginia Folk-Lore Society.
  • Barn dance programs become a major part of the radio industry, led by the WSM Barn Dance in Nashville, which will later become the Grand Ole Opry. Other barn dance programs during the era are broadcast by WBAP in Fort Worth and WSB in Atlanta.
  • Louis Armstrong begins recording with his Hot Five and Hot Seven bands, for OKeh in Chicago. These resulting records are widely influential and establish the early jazz style, and helped launch Armstrong's career, which will eventually make him "one of the best-known and best-loved entertainers in the world". Music historian Richard Crawford has called these recordings "an enduring contribution to music history (that transcend) categorical boundaries to introduce a powerful new, utterly American mode of expression". The recordings establish Armstrong's career as the first virtuoso soloist in jazz, and move the field from one based on collective improvisation among all members of an ensemble to one in which one or more individual performers lead the performance through improvising. The Hot Five was Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Lil Hardin and Johnny St Cyr, while the Hot Seven added Pete Briggs and Baby Dodds, replacing Ory with John Thomas.
  • Ralph Peers names Al Hopkins' band The Hillbillies, the first documented usage of the word hillbilly in a Southern rural musical context.
  • Lonnie Johnson begins his performing career after winning first prize at a blues concert. He will become "probably the first improvising guitarist to base his style on cleanly articulated single-string lines rather than heavily strummed chords"
  • Paul Robeson performs at a critically acclaimed concert, his debut, as a bass baritone, in Greenwich Village; his performance is the first "program consisting entirely of Negro spirituals".
  • Bennie Moten's territory band releases "South", a classic hit recording that helps establish the band's career as one of the most successful and prolifically recording territory band.
  • Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians release a hit recording called "Collegiate", in a style associated with both jazz and the then-prominent flapper culture.
  • James Weldon Johnson's Book of Negro Spirituals is an important reference work that contains clues "about how long and how pervasive the penchant for harmonizing was among African Americans".
  • The Scopes Trial is discussed in a ballad, whose broadside is sold outside the courthouse during the trial, selling more than 60,000 copies. Music historian claims that this publication brought the broadside up to date for the new media of the time.
  • The first African American preacher to be recorded is Calvin P. Dixon.
  • Charles Henry Pace forms the Pace Jubilee Singers, which become the first to record both Pace's songs and those composed by Charles Albert Tindley.
  • The Yugoslavian Tamburitza Orchestra is founded by the Popovich Brothers; it will come to popularize the tambura throughout the United States.
  • Florence Price is the first female African American to gain international renown as a composer, winning her first of two Holstein Awards this year.
  • Charlie Poole leads a group recording several songs, most successfully including "Deal", which will inspire numerous rural performers to imitate this repertoire and three-finger banjo style.
  • Dock Walsh becomes one of the first to record three-finger banjo picking.
  • Students at the Moody Bible Institute broadcast the first gospel music on the radio, on student station WNBL.
  • George Antheil's Ballet mécanique is finished; it was intended to accompany a Fernand Léger film, but was later adapted into a complete composition, using "eight pianos, pianola, eight xylophones, two electric doorbells, percussion, wind machine, and 'airplane propellor', (described as) 'an adapted fan with a forty-eight-inch reach, six vicious blades, and a capacity of 4,000 revolutions per minute'". The piece will make Antheil "internationally notorious". The work may also be the "first use of (long periods of silence) for all instruments".
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson begins making his first recordings, for Paramount Records, which include his first two hits, "Booster Blues" and "Dry Southern Blues". He will become "one of the most important and influential of the early bluesmen", and his success will inspire record companies to search for more authentically rural styles of the blues.
  • The American Society of Ancient Instruments is founded by Ben Stad, a Dutch violinist, in Philadelphia. It is the "first American ensemble known to have performed on period instruments". The original ensemble included a harpsichord, viols, Baroque violins and cellos.
  • Roba Stanley becomes the first woman to record a solo country song, her most popular this year being "Single Life".
  • Sam Wooding & His Orchestra begin performing outside the United States. Wooding will become one of Philadelphia's first internationally prominent jazz musician, and he will be the first African American to tour with a jazz band outside the country, and the first American to play jazz in the Soviet Union, tour South America and record in Europe.
  • Ernest Van "Pop" Stoneman's "The Titanic" is one of the first major hits of what is now called country music. In this same year, Al Hopkins & the Hill Billies become the first country recording artists to record in New York, make a short film, base themselves in Washington, D.C., play for a president (Calvin Coolidge) and use a piano and Hawaiian guitar.

Read more about this topic:  Timeline Of Music In The United States (1920–1949)

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