Catchy Tunes are catching on again

Rock ‘n’ roll music is going out of fashion in 1960, but piano music is here to fill the void

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 10 January 1960

THE teenagers, who, after all, are the people who dictate the trend in popular music, seem to be getting a little tired of rock ‘n’ roll.

By that I do not mean rock ‘n’ roll is dying. Just that in 1960 we shall be hearing less of it. The time is ripe for something in music — a new sound, a new gimmick – something original.

The trouble is that nearly all the musical permutations have been done. The cycle has been round about 20 times already. But if someone can think up a new angle and get out just one recording I am sure it would catch on. The public is always willing to accept a change — so long as it has something to offer that is worthwhile.

At the moment the swing is towards the more melodic numbers. I think the big bands are going to return to favour, too. Proof of their unflagging popularity lies in the fact that bands like those of Ted Heath, Glenn Miller, and Joe Loss are still heard every day on record request programmes.

They set the style when melody and popular music was well into the “swing” phase.

Bill McGuffie
Bill McGuffie – so pleased that the pattern is changing

That phase is coming back. It is under way already. I know this is true because I get hundreds of letters from the people who watch Piano Pops telling me how nice it is to hear a good tune.

I am sure that 1960 will be a year in which there will be a flood of this kind of music from Britain’s Tin Pan Alley.

There are plenty of good writers around, like Tolchard Evans, Michael Carr and Robert Farnon, who can produce tuneful music that appeals to a wide public — not just to the teenagers but to the parents and elder brothers and sisters.

There will be catchy tunes that make everybody want to sing — music that stays in the mind day after day, the tunes you can’t get out of your head, that set office boys whistling as they walk along the street and office managers singing in their baths. Everyone I talk to says the same. The number with a melody is becoming more and more popular with musicians.

At one time I refused to play rock ‘n’ roll, but I got so many demands for it that I had to play it. Now, the pattern of popular music is changing, slowly, towards the sweeter numbers. And I am pleased.

It points to a return of the romantic music that was so popular just after the war — the gorgeous tunes with words like “moon” and “June.”

The Top Twenty is going to be crammed with this kind of song in 1960, because these songs are easy to listen to and to remember.

They are the songs with a melody that lingers on — the sort of tunes I play each week on TV.

I hope that in Piano Pops I have been able to help people forget some of the cares and worries of the world for a few moments and perhaps recall, through some favourite tune, a happy occasion.

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