Vol. 57 No. 3 (2009)
Research Article

Selling Decency and Innocence: Names of Singing Groups in the Malt Shop Memories Collection

Published 2009-09-01



This study examines the names of sixty-five male and female singing groups in the Malt Shop Memories collection and their economic, social, and cultural influences. Record companies' efforts to sell the emerging rock'n'roll to teenagers of mid-1950s to mid-1960s affluent America resulted in group names intended to reduce the negative attitudes toward the music. Non-threatening group names were designed to exude images of wholesomeness and purity to appease parents and the public who regarded rock'n'roll as chaotic, vulgar, and the cause of America's social ills. These names, reflecting such ordinary categories as Birds and Animals, Place Names, Mystique and Wonder, and more, combined with a mandated dress code to sell an image of decency and innocence in the face of a rebellious new style of music.


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