Chapter

From the “Make Believe Ballroom” to the Meadowbrook Inn: Charlie Barnet and the Promise of the Road

in Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226044941
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044965 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226044965.003.0003
From the “Make Believe Ballroom” to the Meadowbrook Inn: Charlie Barnet and the Promise of the Road

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This chapter investigates Charlie Barnet, who developed for his orchestra an explicitly black musical style, and also addresses his songs “Pompton Turnpike,” and “Drop Me Off in Harlem.” These songs represented well the band's approach to dance band music, but they also exhibited how this aesthetic was covered in questions of place and mobility. The musical-spatial characteristics of “Pompton Turnpike” were closely linked to Barnet's understanding of certain black musical practices and what they offered his band. “Drop Me Off in Harlem” was about as hot as the Barnet band played. “Pompton Turnpike” and “Drop Me Off in Harlem” would turn out to be key moments in the band's history. The music of Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra represented a powerful aesthetic and intellectual coming to terms with the new social relationships permitted by a rapidly modernizing nation.

Keywords: Charlie Barnet; Pompton Turnpike; Harlem; dance band music; mobility; Orchestra

Chapter.  18524 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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