Dance Like Fred and Ginger, Sing Like Gracie and George

Dancehalls, Glitterballs and DJs - From the Pleasure Garden to the Discotheque - Bruce Lindsay

Bruce Lindsay [+-]
Music Journalist and Social Historian
Bruce Lindsay is a freelance music journalist and social history researcher. He is the author of Shellac and Swing: A Social History of the Gramophone in Britain (Fonthill Media, 2020), Two Bold Singermen and the English Folk Revival: The Lives, Song Traditions and Legacies of Sam Larner and Harry Cox (Equinox Publishing, 2020) and Ivor Cutler: A Life Outside the Sitting Room (Equinox, 2023).

Description

The BBC’s wireless broadcasts may have made little effort to attract the nation’s youth, but there were plenty of other new media eager to do the job. Gramophone records let British fans hear what their musical heroes sounded like, but the movies let them see their favourites as well. Once those movies talked, a whole new world of dance and song opened up. Away from Britain’s biggest cities, it was the talking pictures that showed eager youngsters just how glamorous life could be, through movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or choreographed by Busby Berkley. If anyone needed reminding of how grey and drab life in Britain could be there were the films of George Formby and Gracie Fields, filled with dance and song on a different scale and far removed from the glamour of the American silver screen. New dance music stars arrived from the Caribbean, bandleaders made starring roles in British movies, lesser-known musicians struggled to find work or entered dance band contests. “Rock and Roll” arrived from an unlikely source, but once again, war loomed on the horizon.

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Citation

Lindsay, Bruce. Dance Like Fred and Ginger, Sing Like Gracie and George. Dancehalls, Glitterballs and DJs - From the Pleasure Garden to the Discotheque. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2025. ISBN 9781800505971. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=44951. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44951. Feb 2025

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