When Past Music Returns

Hello! My name is Jamie Dyer and I would like to welcome you to another Vintage Media Millennial entry. Firstly, thank you for the kind comments that I received on previous posts, it has really boosted my confidence to feel a sense of freedom when writing. Like any sequel though, there is a chance this one won’t live up to the hype! Let’s go!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I often fantasize about the return of past entertainment. Rather than a full-blown revival of a cultural movement, I refer to the idea of a single entity having another moment to shine. A lost recording getting overdue praise. An underappreciated gem shooting to the top of the charts. The performer finally gets the recognition they deserved. There are so many ways that it can happen, so much so that I’m always surprised it doesn’t happen more.

It seemed a regular occurrence in the twentieth century, due to re-releases of archive material by various record labels. The subsequent recordings would find themselves in the higher reaches of the chart, sometimes over twenty-five years after they were recorded. The likes of Jackie Wilson, The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Vinton, The Beatles and Queen are just some of the acts that achieved great chart success long after the records were released. There are various reasons an old song charted in the days before downloads and streams, here are just a few of them.

  1. Usage in a film.
  2. Usage in a memorable commercial.
  3. The passing of the artist.
  4. A reissue to capitalize on a trend revival.

The story I always bring out at this moment is the one about Hank Mizell. Recording a Rockabilly classic called Jungle Rock in 1959, the record remained just another recording from the King Records library. Then in 1976 after some buzz, it found its way into the UK top five. Mizell ended up making television appearances, and eventually released a new album.

As a content creator, I have often experimented with a range of vintage media in private. Everything from inserting obscure George Formby and Phil Harris samples into self-made dance backing tracks, to repurposing classic silent movies; I have spent many hours trying to reinvent to find the next obscure single entity revival. I’m always searching for that next obscurity, it’s fun to think something from the past can have relevance again. I saw it happen many times in my childhood with acts like Leo Sayer and Tony Christie, and I’m certain it will happen again. The likes of YouTube, Twitter and TikTok make it even more possible than ever before. What vintage recording would you bring back?

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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