A HISTORY OF MUSIC VIDEOS
BY ELLIE-LOUISE CARROLL
AL JOLSON – BLUE SKIES (1927)
The song ‘Blue skies’ was performed by Al Jolson in the film ‘The Jazz Singer’
which was the first full length feature film to have sound. The film is about a
young man from a Jewish family who becomes a successful entertainer but
this conflicts with his heritage. Al Jolson was born in 1886 rising to fame in the
1910’s , in his time, was referred to as the ‘worlds greatest entertainer’. He
was best known for performing in ‘blackface’ makeup has caused controversy
throughout the years even due to this Al Jolson was a well known in the
Broadway community for fighting against racial discrimination. Al died in 1950
aged 64 from a heart attack after having an extremely successful career.
Al Jolson – Blue skies (1927) This song is from the film ‘The Jazz Singer’. It is also one of the
songs in the first full length film to have sound, The film ‘The Jazz Singer’ featured Al
Jolson's best known type of performance, in his ‘Blackface’ makeup.
Bessie Smith – St Louis Blue’s (1929) This song was from the film of the same name, it is a
short film running for only 16 minutes. Bessie Smith has had a huge influence on Jazz music
and was the highest payed black singer of her time.
As with most videos of this time it was filmed with barely any camera movement and in one
shot rather than later videos which have more editing involved.
Fred Astaire – Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (1935) This was a song from the
1935 musical film ‘Top Hat’ The song its self was written by Irvin Berlin who
is considered one of the greatest composers in American history. Fred
Astaire is best known for his legendary dancing.
Judy Garland – Somewhere over the rainbow (1939) From the iconic film
‘The Wizard of Oz’ It has become one of the biggest and best known songs
of the 20th century. The role in the Wizard of Oz set Judy Garland up to be
one of the most notable entertainers of her time.
Judy Garland – Have yourself a merry little Christmas (1944) This song comes
from the musical film ‘Meet me in St Louis’ directed by Vincente Minnilli who
Judy Garland would later go on to marry. This song has become one of the
biggest, most recognisable Christmas songs of all time.
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin – New York, New York (1949) From
the film ‘On the Town’ which was directed by Gene Kelly who also starred in the
film. The music video shows the three stars travelling through New York singing.
It is a very recognisable song even today.
Gene Kelly- Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Is an iconic song from the musical film of the
same name about entertainers during the 1920’s. It is often referred to as the best
musical film ever made with this song being the most memorable and easily
recognisable from the musical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ
Elvis Presley- Jailhouse Rock (1957) Coming from the film of the same name
Jailhouse Rock is classed by some as Elvis Presley’s ‘greatest moment on screen’
This song peaked at number 1 in the UK and US charts. It achieved a peak of
number one again when it was re-released in 2005.