Hi. My name is Jonathan Bogart.
I'm slowly (slowwwwwwly) writing a history of twentieth-century music here, by writing about one song for 1901, two songs for 1902, and so forth. I am fascinated by the entire sweep of the century's musical history, although I realize that most people will only start to take an interest once I reach the era of the long-playing record and high-fidelity audio. But if you don't mind a little surface noise and (potentially) being unfamiliar with the musical and cultural traditions at play, I think there's a lot of beauty, wonder, and entertainment in what I've covered so far. Give it a shot.
My emphasis is on the popular music of the United States, which I know best and which is most extensively documented, but I do try to include as much Latin, European, and (eventually) African pop as I can, with more occasional entries from Middle Eastern and Asian scenes, where I am much more at sea. And as the century progresses and formats diversify, concert music and experimental music will crop up more and more. There are always more songs that deserve to be heard and discussed than will fit into a given year: if you notice any egregious omissions (or inclusions!), please comment with what your own favorite, most hated, or canonical records are. Comments will remain open indefinitely; if I can start conversations about these records, and these eras, I'll feel I've done my job.
This project started in 2011 on Tumblr, but as of late 2017 (and in-project, 1924) only updates here. In the spirit of early-10s Tumblr piracy, I used to post public links to zip files of mp3s for every year; from now on you'll have to join my Patreon to get those (as well as expanded essays on the first entry in each year), although I am publicly linking to the YouTube playlists I make for every year. I'll try to maintain them, but eventually that will be 5,050 songs spread out over 100 playlists, and I already have one full-time job.
There are, inevitably, errors. Whether due to more limited researching resources when I began this project, or simply my own carelessness, I got a bunch of years wrong, especially early on. (I think I'm more careful about double- and triple-checking now. We'll see.) One of my long-term goals is to turn this project into a book (or perhaps several, as the songs pile up); if that happens, corrections and replacements and expansions will happen there.
My other current writing projects are:
- Bilbo's Laptop, a review of Billboard Hot Latin #1 hits from 1986 to the present
- The Tens Box, a survey of fiction from the 1910s
- Exist Yesterday, an intermittently-published zine about whatever I'm thinking about