Bob Lippet, a frequent presenter at North Shore Towers, returned to the Country Club on Wednesday, March 18 to speak about the big band era.
“Welcome to the places of the past,” Lippet began. “If happy memories make you feel good, if nostalgia gives you a lift, if the big band era was important to you, you’re in for a good time this evening.”
During the ‘30s and ‘40s, Lippet said that the bands and singers of this era were treated like royalty in the United States. He described Benny Goodman as being the king of swing and Ella Fitzgerald as the queen of song.
Lippet also said that there were a few popular bands in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s. However, things changed following an important Goodman performance.
“Benny Goodman was really the opening gun of the big band era,” Lippet said. “When he opened up at the Paramount, the big band era really took off.”
After this performance, Lippet said many other bands gained popularity. Among them were bands led by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington.
Lippet also spoke about how the change of attitude in the country was reflected in music.
“After the crash of 1929 and the depression, the high living and tempos slowed down. The roaring ‘20s came to an abrupt end,” he said. “The mood and the music of the country changed. The search for security, sweetness and light was reflected in the country’s musical tastes.”
As he continued with his presentation, which included audio and visual clips, Lippet spoke about some of the top male singers of the time, including Rudy Valle, Bing Crosby, Morton Downey, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Bob Everly, Mel Torme and Elvis Presley.
“It’s interesting to see how many changes in musical taste take place from the ‘30s to ‘50s in regard to the male singers,” Lippet said. “In each decade there were superstars, a male singer that the female teenager idolized.”
Lippet also listed some of the many female singers who were a part of the era. They included Doris Day, Helen O’Connell, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
“Two of the most popular female singers were Jo Stafford from the Tommy Dorsey Band and Peggy Lee from the Benny Goodman Band,” he said.
Also included in Lippet’s presentation were Al Land, Day and Merv Griffin, who he described as “three giant personalities.”
To see Lippet’s most recent presentation, watch for it on the in-house channel.