Friday, January 30, 2015




*  Photography for this article provided by Google Images - Titling by F.B. Noodleman. 
Special thanks to "" and "howstuff".

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

(1903 – 1948)

The history of “Pop Music”, (popular music) is much longer than you may think.  Madonna and Michael Jackson are “Old School” in the eyes and ears of today’s younger crowd who crave a host of newer cultural schools in the genera’s which are now merging into the main stream to become the latest generation of music pop “Idols”.  This article will explore Pop from the Stars themselves to the media of the day which brought their names and faces to the nation and the world to become not only America but to become the biggest “World Pop Idles” of all time!

Before the turn of the twentieth century in what was called the “gay 90’s”, as in 1890’s, popular music was heard on “Nicholodians” or player pianos in Honky Tonks and Music Halls, Theaters or even in the streets by “Organ Grinders” Instead of a music down load from iTunes and CD’s people bought sheet music to be played at home on Organs, Pianos, Banjo’s, Ukulele’s or whatever the family instrument was.  Song writers were the pop stars of that era.  That all changed with the “Victor Talking Machine” in 1901.

Thomas Edison invented the first talking machine in 1877.  “Mary had a little lamb” were the first words ever recorded on a cylinder wrapped with tinfoil.  The recording process would undergo a number of changes resulting in the 78 rpm platter (disc) developed by the “Gramophone” company of Germany which incorporated in the United States and eventually became the “Victor Talking Machine Company”.  With its studio in Camden, New Jersey they were now making commercial records and mothering a brand new industry.  Thus; we now have the term “Grammy” for the music industry awards. 

The list of pop stars in the music industries almost seems to be endless throughout the years.  Record, Radio and Motion Pictures have all played a part in the discovery of pop stars.  The remainder of this article will be devoted to the Pop stars of their time and will side light the technical improvements made in the recording industry during the time of those stars.


Enrico Caruso – He was the father of the modern Pop Star.  Enrico was already a world renowned Opera star of the theater when he made his first recording for Victor.  The crude acoustic, nonelectrical method of recording in to a megaphone relied on a very loud source from which to record.  Orchestra and robust Operatic vocalist would reproduce a somewhat faint recording which was suitable for sale and became the new amusement of the day.  The musical Phonograph Record was born.  This style of music would be the standard until the birth of radio.  Caruso’s’ career in recording lasted from 1902 until his death in 1921 releasing 290 recordings and earning millions back in the day when a dollar was really worth a dollar and you could buy a 10 cent cup of coffee.

Rudy Vallee – Discovered by Radio, this was the new medium of entertainment. This was the time of the “Charleston” the“Flapper” and easy money in the roaring ‘20’s. Herbert Hoover was President and there was no end in sight for the country. Playing with his band “The Connecticut Yankees”, Vallee performed at the Savoy Hotel in London and later in the United States he began his recording career for Columbia Records in 1928.

Singing through a megaphone with his wavering high tenor voice gave Vallee a distinctive quality and style. He is credited for being the first example of the 20th. Century mass media pop star. He sold out live performances and was mobbed by the public at every performance. Rudy Vallee’s last hit recording was in 1949 but continued his entertaining career until his death in 1986. He was an actor and entertainer in movies and television. It can also be said that Vallee originated the forerunner to “music video” in movies. By this time the new electronic radio method of recording from Western Electric was incorporated into recording studios and motion pictures bringing “the talkies” to the world and now Hollywood was also in the music business.

Al Jolson - Began his career in 1911 by selling out shows at the Winter Garden Theater in New York for nine performances in a row worked on stage until 1928.  He appeared in the first talking motion picture, “The Jazz Singer” for Warner Bros. Vitaphone pictures.  His vaudevillian style of music and comedy made him a natural for the new medium of sound in films.  He made some 80 hit recordings during his career and appeared in 26 motion pictures and shot subject films.  He was also active in Vaudeville and Burlesque until his death in 1950.

Hollywood and Jolson would later be criticized for making a movie about a white actor in “black face” doing an impersonation of a Negro minstrel singer.  As the old expression has been so often quoted, “imitation is the highest form of flattery”.  Americans find many things from outside the main stream to be amusing whether they come from German, Russian, South American, India or Asian cultures.  All have been impersonated at one time or another and are usually not meant to be hurtful or in hatred.  The “Jazz Singer” suited Jolson’s comedic style and he carried it off with perfection.  Even today we have comedians who do Impressions.  Tyler Perry and Martin Lawrence impersonate black woman and I suppose that is what makes it funny.

Judy Garland - As one third of the “Gum Sisters”, Judy began her career in Vaudeville as a child and was signed to MGM studios as a teenager.  Her unique Contralto singing voice and hard working devotion to her craft made her a mega star at a young age.Miss. Garland died at a very early age.  She quite literally worked herself to death.  Drug problems which she publicly blamed on studio doctors hastened her death in 1969 at the age of 47.  She had worked for 45 of her 47 years.  The new film medium of Technicolor motion pictures and the recording industry were still very new mediums.

Recording in Judy’s era was a long and difficult process.  Hollywood and the recording industry employed an army of technicians, songwriters, and musicians who backed the solo artist.  Before the first wax master could be cut the song was rehearsed to perfection.  There was no editing or over dubbing.   Each song recorded was literally a live performance.  Also consider that each song had to be rerecorded again for film and then factor in radio performances which were also live until the discovery of magnetic recording tape.

Many of Judy’s films were Technicolor productions and the only means of shooting a color movie.  The “Eastman Negative” process would not be established until the 1950’s.  Technicolor required special lighting, make up, and a very large and bulky camera to shoot the three color matrices which were then sandwiched together on the print by exposing the film for each of the three matrices.  It was a very complicated process at every level.  “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) filmed in Technicolor was plagued with all kinds of problems.

MGM had built new and bigger studios to accommodate sound and now their “sound stages” were also being setup with the massive Technicolor equipment and lights.  Sets had to be as lifelike looking.  Makeup in itself was a problem.  Some actors in the film almost lost their lives and had to be replaced while others suffered injuries from the new and untested makeup’s.  Songs and scenes were added and cut.  The film was almost uncompleted for a number of reasons.  Judy had to exercise a great deal of patience beyond her years to follow the project through to completion.  

Judy Garland made more than 24 of the most beloved American films of all time and recorded a truly astounding catalog of music.  She has won the Oscar for a wide range of achievements.  She has also won awards for recording, television and stage. Judy set the bar for all who would follow including her daughter Liza Minnelli and other mega stars such as Lena Horne, Julie Andrews, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross and Madonna.

Bing Crosby – Probably one of the two biggest pop stars of all time.  Bing began his career singing career in high school during 1923 and would sing with several other groups until joining the “Rhythm Boys”.   Singing for the Whitman Orchestra Bing and the Rhythm Boys produced their first number one recording in 1928.  Crosby soon became a soloist.  His bass-baritone voice and easy going style made him very different for his time.  Warm and sincere he would accomplish so many firsts and would remain at the top of his profession until his death in 1977.  He worked in radio during the period of live broadcasts.  There were no recordings used in radio because the quality was to poor for broadcast.  He worked an unrelenting schedule of recording, films, radio and live appearances for most of his life and in television also becoming a TV producer. 

WWII saw Crosby supporting the boys as an entertainer.  It was near the end of this war that allied forces discovered a new German invention – The Magnetic Tape Recorder.  It soon made its way to recording studios, radio and Hollywood sound studios.  Tape opened the door to a host of new recording techniques.  Crosby was the first to be featured on this new medium. The quality was far superior to the old wax master recordings used for 78rpm records and significantly reduced the time needed to produce a recording.  It also ushered in the 33 1/3ird. Long Play album and the advent of High Fidelity sound and eventually Stereo.  Bing holds the number one and three spots for most popular singles of all time – “White Christmas and Silent Night”. Crosby has appeared in 85 movies and has also done a number of “short topic” films.

*  It is at this point I feel the need to make a very strong statement.  I really, really don’t like the terms “race, black or African music when they are used to define American music.  I strongly detest it!   Great Pop artist have come from every segment of American society.  Pop stars merge into the main stream of pop music for one reason and one reason only.  They are truly the best at their craft.  Stars like Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Marian Anderson, Count Basie and B.B. King only to name a few were all acknowledged  by their contemporaries and all received acclaim in the main stream of pop music.

Frank Sinatra – “The Chairman of the Board” and simply “The Voice” were his nick names.  Sinatra began his career singing for the Big Bands of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey during what was dubbed as the “Swing Era”.  He became a solo Mega Monster Superstar and was signed to Columbia records in 1943.  Franks unusually rasp sharp singing style interpreted his musical lyrics like none before him.   His generation of fans were known as the “Bobbie Soxers” and he stirred pandemonium where ever he performed and at the openings of his film debuts.  A star of Stage, Recording, Screen, Radio and Television he did it all.    A very dynamic man in his own right Frank was also active in supporting charity and political fund raising. 

Sinatra experienced many problems during his career but always seemed to redeem himself in the industry and with his fans.  By this time he was known as “Old Blue Eyes” and was one fourth of the “Rat Pack” with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop.  He started his own record label, “Reprise Records” and spent much time working in Las Vegas.  His song “Love and Marriage” became the title song for the “Married with Children” Fox TV show of the 1980’s and he remained very popular until his death in 1998. 

Both Sinatra and Crosby solidified the “Crooner” style and would inspire entertainers up through the 1960’s such as Dean Martin, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Tony Bennett who is still performing today.  His records have sold over $150,000. and has made or appeared in over 50 motion pictures.

It was during Frank's career that the Grammy Awards were established in 1959.  We felt it would be appropriate to discuss the Grammy organization at this point since many may not know the history or even know what the golden award itself is and represents.  The award is a golden Gramophone and was the early Phonograph in the 1900's.  

This record player was all mechanical and was cranked up which wound a spring and then played a record at 78 RPM's (revolutions per minute) and reproduced sound through a megaphone. It had no electrical parts or amplification!  The records contained one song on each side. It came before electronic stereo long play phonographs, CD's, DVD's and "Downloads" on itunes and MP3's. Photo inset  from

How the GRAMMYs Work
by Tracy V. Wilson

The Recording Academy hosts GRAMMY Signature Schools educational events as part of its GRAMMY in the Schools program.
Photo courtesy National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.

Every year, the Recording Academy gathers nominations for the GRAMMY® Awards. Associate and voting members can nominate artists online or by mail, as can major and independent record labels who have registered with the Awards department. To be eligible, recordings must have been released in general commercial distribution in the United States between October 1 of the previous year and September 30 of the current year.
Once the Recording Academy receives the nominations, expert reviewers organize them. No judging takes place during this step -- its purpose is only to sort each nomination into one of 31 musical fields, such as rap, country, jazz and rock. Although people most often associate the GRAMMYs with music, the awards also recognize comedy, spoken word recordings and music videos. As the industry evolves, the Awards & Nominations Committee can also add fields or change the existing ones. The Academy Trustees must approve the changes.
After sorting the nominations, the Recording Academy mails ballots to its voting members. The purpose of this first round of voting is to select five nominees for each award. To make sure the voting process is accurate, members may vote:
·         For the four general categories of Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist
·         In a maximum of nine of the 31 fields, all within their areas of expertise
Members return their ballots to the independent accounting firm Deloitte, which tallies the votes.
The Recording Academy then distributes a second round of ballots to each voting member. This time, the member may vote for the four general categories and in a maximum of eight of the 31 fields. Deloitte tallies the votes and places the results in envelopes which remain sealed until the ceremony.
Most people associate the GRAMMY Awards with the televised awards show and its live performances. But the Awards cover far more categories than you see on TV. In 2005, the Recording Academy awarded GRAMMYs in 107 categories within the 31 fields. In addition to the most well-known awards like Song of the Year, the Recording Academy recognizes a wide range of musical accomplishments, down to album notes and package design. The Recording Academy presents most of these awards separately on the afternoon of the televised ceremony.
Regardless of whether they receive their award on live TV or earlier in the day, each winner gets a small statue of a gramophone. The GRAMMYs get their nickname from these statues.
For lots more information about music and the GRAMMYs, check out the links on the next page.

Record of the Year and Album of the Year may sound like nearly identical awards, but they recognize two different achievements. The Record of the Year award recognizes one specific track or commercially released single, and the Album of the Year award recognizes an entire album.
In addition to the awards that recognize specific songs, albums and artists every year, some special awards recognize other achievements, such as:
·         Lifetime Achievement
·         Technical Award
·         Trustees Award, for non-performing contributors to the music industry
·         Legend Award, for ongoing contributions to music
·         GRAMMY Hall of Fame, for recordings 25 years old or older that have significant historical importance
Nominating committees usually select winners for these awards rather than the entire voting membership. 

The Recording Academy
The GRAMMY® Awards are a product of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or the Recording Academy. Founded in 1957, the Recording Academy is a professional music organization. All of its members are creative or technical music professionals, such as singers, composers, producers, art directors and engineers.
The Recording Academy has two membership levels -- associate and voting. All voting members are producers, performers or engineers on six or more tracks of a commercially released album.
In addition to organizing the GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy works with musicians and lawmakers on legal issues like digital music downloading. The Recording Academy has also organized the GRAMMY Foundation for music awareness as well as the MusiCares Foundation, which provides emergency assistance and addiction recovery programs for people in the music industry.
The Recording Academy is most famous for its annual awards. We'll look at the GRAMMYs next.

The Recording Academy is a national organization with chapters in:
·         Atlanta
·         Austin
·         Chicago
·         Florida
·         Los Angeles
·         Memphis
·         Nashville
·         New York
·         Pacific Northwest (Seattle)
·         Philadelphia
·         San Francisco
·         Washington, D.C.

(1948 – 2012)

*  The electric guitar was invented in 1931 by the National Guitar Corporation which would become “Rickenbacker Guitars”. Before the 1950's there were clues indicating pop music music was beginning to change.  Since the beginning of radio and recorded music during the 1920’s in the southern US radio stations were catering to the regional tastes of their listeners.

Television was replacing radio as the medium for entertainment drama.  Programs which began on radio were now moving to TV and as a result radio stations needed a new source of programming to fill their empty time slots.  Music radio was born.  Radio stations began to branch off into all areas of music – Pop, Rock, Soul, Country and Easy Listening.  Rock n’Roll and Soul were new with small recording studios springing up to help Radio meet the new challenge of programming.   

WSM radio in Nashville was the home of “Country” music and would spawn what was to be called “Rockabilly” music.  It was becoming hugely popular in other parts of the country and the world.  Deeper in the south “Jazz”, with its home in New Orleans, had already made an influence in the swing and pop music of the day.  All over the south there was a trend toward “Rhythm and Blues”.  Soul was being developed in the northern urban areas of the nation and also drew its inspiration from the musical traditions of the South.  Young people in the ‘50’s were becoming disenchanted with the music of their parents feeling it was too stuffy and old hat.  They were ready for something new!


Dean Martin – Dean is arguably the last of the really big Crooners.  He began his very successful career with his comedy partner Jerry Lewis.  They were another example of stars who drove their fans to pandemonium.  Jerry was the wild and crazy nut and Dean was the voice of reason and sensibility who would try to keep Jerry in line.  What was really different about Lewis & Martin was Dean’s singing ability.  He absolutely knocked them off their feet with his smooth Baritone voice.
Performing as a nightclub act they were given national exposure on the new medium of television and were signed to a radio contract in 1948 and then were signed by Paramount Pictures in 1949.  Martin recorded for a small company in 1946 and signed with Capitol Records in ‘48 and would later record for fellow “Rat-packer” Sinatra at Reprise Records in 1962.  Lewis & Martin went through a very nasty public break up in 1956.  Dean was the more successful of the two and perused a successful solo acting career and continuing with his accomplished recording profession.

During Dean’s era many entertainment industrial innovations came about.  The Birth of television, Stereo recording and record manufacturing, AM top 40 Radio and FM Stereo Radio.

Martin has recorded 83 singles, and 52 albums in all during his career.  He has made over 60 motion pictures and has been very successful as a television performer throughout the early years of TV.  “The Dean Martin Show” and the “Dean Martin Celebrity Roast” were both big hits on national TV.

Dean Martin very early in his career on NBC radio with
 comedy partner Jerry Lewis, 1949

Elvis Presley -  Started his career at Sun Records in Memphis, TN. In 1954 this was a new kind of music enterprise blending Country music with Rhythm & Blues and the beginnings of “Rockabilly”.  He was creating a stir with fans where ever he performed with his “hip swiveling” style.  Other artist at Sun also were “rockers” such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison.  One other very famous artist who would come from Sun Records was the hugely popular country artist Johnny Cash and was dubbed a member of the “Million Dollar Quartet” with Presley, Lewis and Perkins.  

Sun records sold Elvis’s contract to RCA records and he became an international sensation.  “Rock & Roll” was the term coined by D.J. Alan Freed some years earlier.  Elvis truly was a crossover artist who could sing and perform Rock & Roll at a fever pitch and who also was capable of singing a tender love ballad in the best tradition of the “Crooner”.  Elvis had the best singing voice I have ever heard! 

He soon signed a movie deal with MGM and the dye was struck.  Over the course of his career his films did very well and were a staple for fans.  He influenced so many others of his generation and those to follow.  One such notable entertainer who gave Elvis a great deal of competition was Ricky Nelson.  During the early period of their careers it was difficult to detect who was the top dog!  Both greatly admired the other but with time Elvis became the more dominate through the longevity of his career. Elvis holds the number 2 spot in the over $300,000. club with a certified 203.3 million units sold.  He was working and still emencly popular until his death in 1977.

Sir Paul McCartney - Began his professional music career in 1962 recording with “The Beatles” and signing with Parlophone records.  He was an influential member of the group being one half of the song writing genius of Lennon & McCartney.  His career with this band lasted until their breakup in 1970 and they are listed as the number one pop act of all time earning well over $300,000. with an estimated 250 million units sold.
Paul or Sir James Paul; as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 is estimated to have earned over 450,000 in English Pounds Sterling.  This entertainer concerns himself primarily with songwriting, recording and touring in concert.  He is now in his sixth decade of entertaining.  His accomplishments are staggering and at this point I will quote from the “Gunnies Book of World Records”.

McCartney has been described by Guinness World Records as "The Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All Time", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100 million albums, 100 million singles, and a writer's credit on forty-three songs that have sold over one million copies each.  According to Guinness, he is "the most successful songwriter" in UK singles chart history, and has written or co-written “188 charted records, of which 129 are different songs. Of these records, 91 reached the Top 10 and 33 made it to No.1. In total, the songs have spent 1,662 weeks on the chart (up to the beginning of 2007)”.  In 1986 he received acclaim from the Guinness Book of Records Hall of Fame, who presented him with a rhodium disk to commemorate his standing "as the most successful musician of all-time."

In the US, as a songwriter or co-writer, McCartney is included on 32 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100; including twenty with the Beatles and nine solo and/or with Wings, one as a co-writer of "A World Without Love", a number one single for Peter and Gordon, one as a co-writer on Elton John's cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and one as a co-writer with Jackson on "Say Say Say”.  As of 2012 he has sold 15.5 million RIAA certified units in the United States.

Although Elvis Presley has achieved the most UK number-ones as a solo artist with eighteen, McCartney has been involved in more number-ones in the UK than any other artist under a variety of credits, totalling twenty-four singles: including seventeen with the Beatles, one solo, and one each with Wings, Stevie Wonder, Ferry AidBand AidBand Aid 20 and one with "The Christians et all".  He is the only artist to reach the UK number one as a soloist ("Pipes of Peace"), duo ("Ebony and Ivory" with Wonder), trio ("Mull of Kintyre", Wings), quartet ("She Loves You", the Beatles), quintet ("Get Back", the Beatles with Billy Preston), and as part of a musical ensemble for charity (Ferry Aid).

McCartney's song "Yesterday" is thought to be the most covered in history with more than 2,200 recorded versions,  and according to the BBC, "The track is the only one by a UK writer to have been aired more than seven million times on American TV and radio and is third in the all-time list ... [and] is the most played song by a British writer this century in the US."  His 1968 Beatles composition, "Hey Jude", is also a career highlight. It achieved the highest sales in the UK that year, and topped the US charts for nine weeks, longer than any other Beatles single. It was also the longest single ever released by the band, and at seven minutes eleven seconds was the longest of any number one ever to that point.   "Hey Jude" was covered by several notable artists, including Presley, Bing CrosbyCount Basie, and Wilson Pickett.  It is the best-selling Beatles single of all-time, with sales of over five million copies achieved soon after its release.

In 1990 the minor planet 4148, was named "McCartney" in his honour.  In July 2005 he was involved with the fastest-released single in history, when his performance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with U2 at Live 8 was released before the concert was over. The single reached number six on the Billboard charts, just hours after the singles release, and hit number one on numerous online download charts across the world.  In 2008 he received a BRIT award for Outstanding Contribution to Music,  as well as an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Yale University.  In 2012 he became the last of the "Fab Four" to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Sir Paul embraces the other members of "The Beatles" in the mid 1960's 
(Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison)

Sir Elton John -  The true mad man of mad men.  He has been known for his simply outrageous performances on stage with big glasses, Rhine stone and feather studded costumes with high platform shoes.  Elton holds a number of records – number two best selling song of all time, “Candle in the Wind” and is ranked as the fifth best selling artist of all time with over $300,000. in sales and 154 million units sold.  He came to prominence in 1969 and still remains active today.
Trained as a classical pianist John was exposed to classical and gospel music.  He also was influenced by the rockers of his day – Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.   Elton collaborates with partner Bernie Taupin on his music writing which is where he got his start in the music industry.   Together they have produced more than 30 albums to date.  Sir Elton has also established himself in theater and motion pictures writing music and sound tracks for a number of shows and films.  John’s career has earned him a number of awards and he is active in a number of charities. 

During Elton’s career “Disco” was the popular dance music of the day and produced many one hit wonders which have been a phenomenon since the early days of recording.  FM radio was now transitioning making the switch to pop and rock music formats and moving away from its staple which was known as “elevator music”.  In the recording studios however there were big changes happening. Video 1 & 2 inch recording tapes were being adapted for sound only recording making more channels available.  Much bigger mixing boards were developed and the largest part of recording was now in production.

Motown Records – Founded in 1960 by Barry Gordy Jr. is probably the most successful small label in the recording industry.Motown’s studio was located in a two floor house in Detroit, MI and was to become known as “Hits Ville USA”. Gordy has discovered and produced so many great stars in pop music. The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Miracles, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Dianna Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder to name a few all got their start at Motown.Gordy would go on to establish a total of five labels for his recording business and is currently planning a Broadway musical on the founding of Motown.

Michael Jackson  -  Began his recording career in 1968 at the historic “Motown” record label with his brothers, the “Jackson 5”.  A highly popular act selling over 100 million albums Michael performed as the lead singer at the age of 10.  Jackson became a solo act.  He has been active in motion pictures, stage and recording until his death in 2009.  He is ranked as the third best selling artist of all time and dubbed “The King of Pop” with sales over $300,000. and 156.5 million units sold. 

The albums “Thriller” and “Bad” are Jackson’s two of his biggest selling albums and they have been ranked as the best selling of all time with over 40 million in sales each.  He is best known for his singing and dancing style and has been involved with various areas in motion pictures.  At the time of his unfortunate death Michael was in the middle of preparing for his sold out tour “This Is It”.  After his death he became the best selling artist of 2009 with over 35 million albums sold worldwide.

A young Michael in 1973 performs with his brothers "The Jackson 5" 
Tito, Randy, Marlon, Michael and Jermaine

*Special thanks to TaNisha Harris for background research on Michael and The Jackson 5

Madonna – This lady has carved her entertainment career in the likeness of her predecessors.  She began recording in what was known as “New Wave” music.  She is a star of recording, stage and motion pictures and is ranked as the forth best selling recording artist of all time with over $300,000. In sales with 157 million units sold.  She has made 18 motion pictures to date and has worked as a director.  Her career has been going strong since her first film in 1979.  She still continues working and hopefully will be with us for years to come.

During Madonna’s career the music industry continued to make big technical advances.  MTV became a new medium for showcasing musicians and digital recording revolutionized music production.  Compact discs soon gave way to music down loads for iPods and MP3 players and the computer replaced CD players and turn tables.  Now it is possible to down load music videos and motion pictures via computer.  Madonna is the reigning queen of pop – that’s it and that’s all!  She is active in all areas as an entertainer and is the hardest working woman in show business today.

Inside the digital recording studio.  This is where the engineer
"mixes" and produces what will become the final master
recording of a song.

Who will be the next Mega Super Pop stars of the future?   

Only time will reveal them to us.  They are out there right now working at their craft – building their numbers.  I’ll throw out a few names:  Lady Ga Ga, Eminem, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z or maybe someone out of one of the groups like the Black Eyed Peas, Red Hot Chili Peppers or the Backstreet Boys. Perhaps it will be Christina Aguilar, Bono of U-2, Gwen Stephani or Sting.  It’s a little early to tell for now.

It is this writer’s opinion that we will not see such mega super stars for quite some time for two reasons.  Firstly because the music field of today is so diverse incorporating more genera’s than ever before blending into the main stream of music.  Some of these are totally new musical styles and are still in themselves being developed while others are much older and established veins of music with newer stars who are making the effort of mass appeal through the medium of television and video.  The second reason is due to the new medium of the music digital down load – iTunes; which allows users the option of purchasing only a single song or video instead of making the song only available as an album purchase.  Boy; things have sure changed a lot!

Next week we will be back with a look at the Freshmen Congress.  See you then.  This is Felicity for the "Noodleman Group"!

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