Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: “Pop” music

Here’s a question: why do we call it “pop” music?

A little research suggests that the world was first used in 1949 in an article in a defunct British music paper called Melody Maker. It was deep in a gossip column item on big band leader Benny Goodman, which referred to him as a “consulting director of pop music” on (for whatever reason Russian language radio programs.)

The word really caught in 1953 and 1954 when 7-inch 45 rpm records really started to take hold in the marketplace. Albums were for adults; singles were for kids. By this time, there were several charts keeping track of the best-selling singles. These charts kept track of “popular” music–or “pop music” for short.

The last Ongoing History Daily post had something to do with a really interesting album offer.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: “Pop” music

  • I’m pretty sure it goes back further than that. I think it was originally used to differentiate between “serious” classical music, and that played for the masses at the matinees.


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