The 1920s were called the Jazz Age for a very good reason. That was when jazz music blossomed and became extremely popular.
“Jazz was both the image and engine for the new, cosmopolitan, racially mixed culture,” explains historian Chip Rhodes, “and also sought to tap into an emotional or spiritual impulse that ‘civilized’ America had repressed.” New music fads came and went but the improvisational genre became a major hit and sold over 100 million records in 1927 alone, setting the stage for black people and increasing their chances of profiting from the economic prosperity of those times.
Despite its tremendous success, jazz was eventually replaced by the more aggressive, liberating rock. It took the world by storm and captured the audience in a way that we’re probably not going to see with another form of music. “There’s no real cultural center,” professor Jay David Bolter observes. “Even the big pop music superstars aren’t really known by everyone. There’s not the same claim to cultural dominance that there was even in the era of rock music in the 1960s.”