Music Publishing in the Early Twentieth Century

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Surname/tag: Minsky, Mills, Ecoff
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Music publishing in the 1920s.

The 1920s were a decade of lots of changes and innovations in the music industry. It is considered the beginning of the modern music era. Before that, recorded music was rare. The recordings were not very good. In the mid 20s, recording changed for a manual to an electrical process which made the quality much better and more appealing to the masses. In the 1920s, radio became more widespread and movies started having sound which lead to more popular music being heard. [1]

Music publishing in the 1930s

In the 1930s many homes started having radios. The decade was also affected by the Great Depression. Hollywood came into its own at this time too. The music industry started to track the sales of sheet music and record sales. These results were featured on the radio show “Your Hit Parade” and Billboard magazine. With these shows, the idea of popular music came into being. One of the first heart throbs was Rudy Vallee who had his own radio show, made records and appeared in films. Swing and Big Band became popular styles. Broadway plays were also prominent as they made movies based on musicals. [2]

Mills Music Publishing

Mills Music Publishing was started in 1919 as Jack Mills, Inc by the Minsky Brothers, Jacob (Minsky) Mills (1891-1979) who changed his name to Jack Mills and Isadore Isaac (Minsky) Mills (1894-1985) who changed his name to Irving Mills. Later, it was known as Mills Publishing Company. Their cousin, Jacob Joseph Ecoff (1895-1963) joined the company in 1920. At first he represented their interests in the Philadelphia area. In the 1930s, he became sales manager, a position that he held until his death in 1963. [3]

Popular songs

Mills was responsible for some music that is considered part of the the Great American Songbook. [4] In 1928, they hired Hoagy Carmichael as a composer. He wrote the song, Stardust. [5] The sheet music for Stardust was published with a picture of Rudy Vallée on the cover. It was also recorded by Louis Armstrong who was a friend of Hoagy's. [6]

When You're Smiling was written in 1928 by Larry Shay and Joe Goodwin. It has been recorded by many artists, including Louis Armstrong who recorded it in 1929.

Moonglow was written by Irving Mills and Will Hudson, with words by Eddie DeLange. It was recorded by many artists, including Joe Venuti, Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman (1909-1986) .

I Can't Give You Anything But Love was first performed in 1929. it is a jazz standard. It was performed in 2014 by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. [7]

Caravan is another Jazz standard. Written and performed by Duke Ellington in the 1930s. It has been covered by many artists since that time. [8]


  3. 8 Great Grandparents - Maternal Side (VLOG #46) Jarret Ross.


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