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Tin Pan Ally

How easy it is today to demand more and instantly get more. Music is everywhere pouring out of SoundDocks, iPods, tablets and MP3 players and yet for many there is still joy to be had from a diamond needle and spinning disc. Radiograms and record players were once all there was in terms of teenage entertainment until that is powering its way into 50s and 60s came the portable magnetic tape recorder. Purchased on 'easy terms' home recording had arrived and budding pop stars of which there were many could now get their act together and groups and their music reached the ears of A&R (Artist & Repertoire) men sat in offices mainly in London – Manchester Square (EMI Records), Chandos Street (Pye Records) and 9 Albert Embankment (Decca Records) to name but a few.

Suddenly an exciting new world had opened up and nearly every kid in the street had some connection with music be it a tea chest, broom handle and a length of string or a battered old Spanish guitar later to be exchanged for a 'Strat.' Everyone seemed to be writing songs and on hot days parlour windows open to let in some air let out the strains of the next would-be No1.

There was no Simon Cowell in those days but there was a massive amount of new talent sufficiently inspired to buy a carton of milk at London Road Railway Station (now Piccadilly) and overnight get their music to the capital – where West End bangers and beans sustained many a young writer hawking their work along Denmark Street (Tin Pan Ally) and Charing Cross Road.

Names now forgotten helped artists onto the first rung of a thrilling ladder. Some went on to great fame whilst others became one-hit wonders either way, the tape recorder brought pure magic to a dull post war world and with it teenagers everywhere responded big time. (More anon)

For Elsie: Poet5170 who waited to hear more about the 50s - bless you, Joe

© Joseph G Dawson