Leisure and Entertainment since 1900
Written by Timothy Knapman
Music If you wanted to listen to a song in 1900, youâ€™d buy the sheet music and play it yourself on an instrument. Soon, though, machines that could play recordings of songs became popular. These were called gramophones. Gramophones had no volume control. To make a song quieter, people would have to put something, such as a sock, into the horn to mufďŹ‚e the sound. 2
The first electric guitar was invented in 1931.
By the 1950s, the invention of the electric guitar had made music louder and more exciting. This new music was called rock and roll. It appealed especially to young people. There were still famous singers – such as Elvis Presley – but now there were also pop groups, who wrote their own songs. The most famous was The Beatles.
In 1955, Elvis Presley had his first number one hit record.
Did you know? The Beatles’ fans screamed so much that the group stopped performing live – they couldn’t hear themselves play!
From the 1950s, gramophones were replaced by more reliable record players. In the 1960s, cassette tapes were introduced, followed by the compact disc (CD) in the 1980s. Both could be played on small, portable machines. This was the ďŹ rst time people could listen to their favourite music wherever they were. From the 1990s, songs could be downloaded directly from the internet.
Did youÂ know? From 2012 onwards, more songs were downloaded than bought on CD.