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Radio was the biggest story of 1922 in America, as hundreds of stations popped
up all over the country. A new era of mass communication was born, connecting
big city and rural town over hundreds of miles. At the same time, the Jazz
Age was getting underway. The songs of 1922 hint at what was to come and look
back with a bittersweet nostalgia at the past of popular music.
A look forward
Some of the biggest stars of the 1920s, on stage and radio, are heard on this
CD. Fanny Brice, a Ziegfeld mainstay for a decade, reached new heights with
her trademark double-sided smash, "Second-Hand
Rose" and "My Man." Vaughn De Leath, "the original
radio girl," scored a hit with the Blake and Sissle vehicle from Shuffle
Along, "I'm Just Wild about Harry." Meanwhile, Isabelle Patricola,
accompanied by the very hot Ross Gorman-led Virginians, stands out with "Lovin'
Sam (The Sheik of Alabam')." All things concerning "The Sheik" were
the craze of 1922; Rudolph Valentino played the part in the hit film of the
same name, the song "The Sheik (of Araby)" was a hit for the Club
Royal Orchestra, and other songs, including Eddie Cantor's "I Love Her--She
Loves Me" allude to "the sheik."
A look to the past
Like "Swanee" (from 1920), "My
Sunny Tennessee" yearns for the yesterday of Southern skies and rolling
hills, performed here by the Peerless Quartet, a recording industry staple
of nearly two decades. Billy Jones and Ernest Hare, soon to be known on radio
as The Happiness Boys, scored big with an early offering, the nostalgic "In
the Little Red School House." "When Francis Dances with Me" was
a comeback hit surprise for the team of Jones and Murray, who had recorded
together infrequently in the late 1910s. "Frances" would be Ada Jones'
last record with Billy for Victor, as she died while on tour in May 1922.
Dance bands take center stage
Paul Whiteman's band continued its supremacy in national sales, as dance songs
such as "Do It Again!" and "Stumbling" reigned
supreme in 1922. Trumpeter Henry Busse steps out on "Hot
Lips," which he penned as a follow-up to his huge hit "The
Wang-Wang Blues," also for Whiteman. "Three O'Clock in the Morning"--a
waltz, unusual for Whiteman--would be one of the biggest hits of the entire
acoustic era. Isham Jones showed why his outfit was the biggest Chicago band
on his first self-composed hit, "On
Stage stars translate hit shows into hit records
The *phenom* of 1922 was "Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean," featured
in Ziegfeld's Follies of 1922 and performed in hit recordings by a number of
artists, including two very different versions included here. One is by the
originators, Ed Gallagher and Al Shean (listen
to the less-known "B" side of their big hit in our November Recording
of the Month"), and the second is by Jones and Hare, who recorded it for
both Brunswick and Okeh. As in previous years, Al Jolson continued his unbroken
streak of popularity with the smash hit "April Showers," from Bombo,
and "Angel Child."