Decades: 1940’s Big Bands to Be-Bop Hipsters


A symphony of destruction was playing to a standing room only packed house in Europe and Asia as the

Maestro’s of war conducted the philharmonic destruction unprecedented in history. Mechanized warfare

was an overture of the horrors to come from the genocidal gas chambers of Auschwitz to the B.G. (Before

Godzilla) atomic vaporization of Emperor Hirohito’s Hiroshima and Blitkrieg Bomb Bopping of Berlin.

Taking the musical center stage on the homefront back in the USA, the Big Band sound was drowning out

the big bang sound of bombs bursting in air by the rockets red glare. It was swing time as America tried to

keep a smile on Uncle Sam’s face as family and friends awaited word  of loved ones in  battle. Count

Basie was driving the beat while the dervish Dizzy Gillespie was blowing his trumpet triumphantly looking

on. Cab Calloway Zoot Suited with a boogie beat and the Reefer Man. Artie Shaw was giving Benny

Goodman a headache as Ava Gardner gave Artie head. Glenn Miller was in the mood, but soon

disappeared on a flying Chatanooga Choo Choo somewhere over the English Channel in 1944.

Crosby and Sinatra were crooning while girls were swooning, and jitterbugs were jump jivin’ to a jazzed

up jism beat. It all came together with the emergence of Be-Bop, a form of jazz filled with a hypodermic

needle of bop performed by hopped up be-bop hipsters with a riot squad of rhythm and complex chord


The undisputed godfathers of bop were the dynamic duo of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. These

cats led the parade of hipster be-boppers such as Charlie Mingus, Thelonius Monk and Oscar Peterson.

They bopped the house in the 1940’s.

However, you can’t discuss music of the 1940’s without a rolling paper nod of the sobrero to Gene Krupa.

Before Ginger Baker…there was Krupa! Although Krupa called it quits and retired in the 1960’s, he then

opened a music school, mainly for drummers,that included students: Peter Criss of Kiss and Jerry Nola

of the New York Dolls.

While the cities burned in the 1940’s, the ghost of Nero fiddled around with new sounds and the hicks

were jivin’ it up with the big band sounds of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Then the guitars got

amplified. Ernest Tubb plugged his in to be heard over the din of honky tonk women and their admirers

getting blasted on beer. The juke box blasted out country music that soon was on a collision course with

be-bop music and jazz creating a rock-a-billy inbreed that in time became the rock and roll of the 1950’s .

As American post war teens in the Nifty Fifties were sucking on the nipple of mama rock and roll, hipsters

and the beat gen were still injecting themselves with massive doses of be-bop narco junkie juice as the

old world of bobbysoxers now gave way to rock and roll and rockabilly hipsters.

That’s a brief history of time in music.


About Author

Comments are closed.

Receive latest magazine issues - Free!Subscribe