It is hard to say how long a song topping the charts may enjoy popularity. However, they do have quite a lifespan if the closing ceremony of the Olympic games is anything to go by.
What do we define as a pop song? Is it a crescendo of deafening noise thumped out by a group of wildly clad ravers or a quiet, emotive, gentle ballad? We all have our musical tastes but it cannot be denied that most people do prefer the pop song world. Although many old folk do like pop its real following remains with the young and middle aged. Mind you some of this is simply because the elderly just cannot take the row. Many of that generation also see a successful song as one that provides a pleasing melody which lasts and lasts, never grows old and always keeps it appeal. Now that criteria most surely narrows the field of qualifiers. The music writers who scored best in this respect came from the first half of the 20th century. Furthermore, they took their inspiration from songs that featured in Victorian and Edwardian times. The 30s and 40s were heydays of pop, and we still sing out songs from both world wars. Older readers will remember the sweetheart renderings of Anne Shelton, Vera Lynn and Dickie Valentine.
We may ask, ‘How many of today’s thousands of singers and groups will ever produce anything of an evergreen quality?’ and moreover, even when they do break into the charts, will their songs still be sung in a hundred years time? ‘The Sunshine of Your Smile’ made the top ten in 1980 and our youngsters were very surprised to learn that it had already been around for 70 years! Next week in Part 63 - Romeo or Juliet?