Skip to main content
Hearing the Americas
What was the dance craze that inspired W.C. Handy’s legendary “St. Louis Blues” (1914)?
What was the most popular kind of band in America and worldwide in 1900?
How did recording transform music listening?
What role did Black people from the British Caribbean play in the Jazz Age?
Did jazz come from Latin America?
Who was the first African American recording star?
Was the United States the only country where the racist tradition of blackface performance was popular?
What musical instrument was invented for use in early recordings?
Who was the King of Ragtime?
What city was home to two record factories pressing more than 4 million discs per year by 1926?
What Appalachian folk instrument came from Africa?
Jazz, son, samba, and tango songs all became musical symbols of their nations; when were they first recorded?
Why did James Reese Europe forbid his musicians to bring sheet music to gigs?
Who was the first country singer?
What surprised record companies most about the music consumers wanted to hear?
Why does the music recorded before 1920 all sound alike?
Where do the blues come from?
Who made sexy ragtime dances safe for the general public?
How did samba, an Afro-Brazilian genre, come to be celebrated as the national music of Brazil?
Why wasn’t Jamaican music recorded before the 1950s?
What did Memphis politician Edward Crump have to do with the blues?
How did the bolero move from Cuba to Mexico?
Who was the first Black blues singer on record?
Victor Recording Expeditions in Latin America
African-American Theater Circuits
Explore this selection of some of the most popular artists of the early record business.