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David Kent (historian)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Kent
BornDavid Kent
1941 (age 77–78)
Sydney, Australia
OccupationMusic history, writer
Genremusic culture
SubjectRock music, popular culture
Website
www.austchartbook.com.au

David Kent (born 1941) is an Australian music historian and pop culture writer. Kent produced the Kent Music Report, compiling the national music chart from May 1974 to 1996; it was known as the Australian Music Report from 1987.[1] The music reports were a weekly listing of the National Top 100 chart positions of singles and albums.[1][2] Kent's music reports were used by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) as its official ARIA Charts from mid-1983 until July 1988 when ARIA developed an in-house chart.[1][3]

Kent continued to publish his Australian Music Report on a weekly basis until 1996.[1] In 1993, Kent collated his charts into a book, Australian Chart Book, 1970–1992.[4] He followed with Australian Chart Book (1940–1969) in 2005,[5] Australian Chart Book (1993–2005) in 2006,[6] and The Australian top 20 book (1940–2006) in 2007.[7]

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Transcription

In the summer of 1963, a high school teacher changed the way the world looked at "The Wizard of Oz." His name was Henry Littlefield, and he was teaching an American history class. He'd made it to the late 19th century, a time called The Gilded Age, but he was struggling to keep his class interested in the complex social and economic issues of the time. Then one night, while he was reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" to his daughters, he had an idea. In the 1890s, farmers wanted to add silver to the gold standard to put more money in circulation and make it easier for farmers to borrow. In the book, Dorothy walked to the Emerald City on the Yellow Brick Road in her silver shoes. The movie's ruby red slippers started out as silver. Silver and gold on the road to prosperity. L. Frank Baum had published the book in 1900 at the height of The Gilded Age, and the analogy didn't seem out of the question. No one else had seen these connections, but that didn't deter Littlefield. He taught his class about The Gilded Age using the book, and soon he and his students were finding more connections. For instance, in the late 1890s, the U.S. had recently recovered from the Civil War and integrated vast new territories, bringing an era of prosperity for some. But while industry and finance in the North and East prospered, farmers across the South and Midwest struggled. This led to the Populist movement, uniting farmers and workers against urban elites. By 1896, the movement had grown into the People's Party, and its support of Democrat Williams Jennings Bryan put him in reach of the presidency. Meanwhile in Oz, claimed Littlefield, Dorothy is a typical American girl whose hard life in Kansas is literally turned upside down by powerful forces outside her control. The munchkins are the common people oppressed by the Witch of the East, banks and monopolies. The Scarecrow is the farmer, considered naive but actually quite resourceful, the Tin Woodman is the industrial worker dehumanized by factory labor, and the Cowardly Lion is William Jennings Bryan who could be an influential figure if only he were brave enough to adopt the Populist's radical program. Together, they travel along a golden yellow road towards a grand city whose ruler's power turns out to be built on illusions. Littlefield published some of these observations in an essay. His claim that this fantasy was actually a subversive critique of American capitalism appealed to many people in 1960s. Other scholars took up the theme, and the proposed analogies and connections multiplied. They suggested that Dorothy's dog Toto represented the teetotalers of the prohibition party. Oz was clearly the abbreviation for ounces, an important unit in the silver debate. The list goes on. By the 1980s, this understanding of the book was accepted so widely that several American history textbooks mentioned it in discussions of late 19th century politics. But is the theory right? L. Frank Baum's introduction claims the book is just an innocent children's story. Could he have been deliberately throwing people off the trail? And is it fair to second guess him so many decades later? There's no definitive answer, which is part of why authorial intent is a complex, tangled, fun question to unravel. And some recent scholars have interpreted "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in the opposite way as Littlefield. They claim it's a celebration of the new urban consumer culture. Historian William Leach argued that the dazzling Emerald City of Oz was meant to acclimate people to the shiny, new America. In the end, all we know for sure is that Baum, inspired by European folk legends, had set out to create one for American children. And whether or not he intended any hidden meanings, its continuing relevance suggests he succeeded in creating a fairytale America can call its own.

Contents

Early life

David Kent was born in Sydney, Australia. He listened to local radio broadcasts of top hits such as "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley in 1955.[8][9]

Career

When Kent was a youth, Australia had no nationwide chart system for singles or albums,[8] and Kent kept his own tally of the positions provided by Sydney radio stations.[9] In 1958, radio station 2UE provided the first give-away charts in record stores,[8] with the first national chart, compiled for Go-Set by rock journalist Ed Nimmervoll, appearing in October 1966.[8][10] Kent worked for record companies, EMI and Polygram, and avidly collected record charts as a hobby.[9] For 18 months, Kent researched Australian music charts and developed a ranking system based on radio station charts from around the country, and from May 1974 he compiled the Kent Music Report.[8][11] Kent's aims were to provide the Australian music industry with information on singles and albums, and to chronicle the history of music tastes.[8][11] The Kent Music Report was sold commercially after July 1974, and became the sole nationwide chart following the demise of 'Go-Set in August.[10]

Kent expanded his business and, from 1976, incorporated actual sales figures to supplement information from radio stations.[11] By 1977, major record companies used his chart information in their advertising.[11] Kent's staff sent surveys to retail stores, collated sales figures together with radio charts by states and then used his ranking system to assemble the national Kent Music Report. By 1982, retail sales by survey was the main source of Kent's reports.[11]

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) was established by the six major record companies operating in Australia: EMI, Festival Records, CBS (now known as Sony Music), RCA (now known as BMG), WEA (now known as Warner Music) and Polygram (now known as Universal).[8][12] ARIA licensed the Kent Music Report from mid-1983 to publish the ARIA Charts under its banner until the week ending 26 June 1988.[8][12] ARIA had established its own research and chart publishing group and now competed with the Kent Music Report.[8][12]

At the beginning of 1987, the Kent Music Report was renamed the Australian Music Report. It was used by major record companies in preference to ARIA's own charts.[8][12] Kent continued production of his music reports until 1996, but sold off his interest in the Australian Music Report, which continued to the end of 1998, after which changes in technology, such as barcoding, enabled point-of-sale information to be sent directly to ARIA.[8][13] This meant that Kent could no longer compile reliable sales information.[8][13]

In 1993, Kent used his resources to compile charts dating back to 1970. He added information from the weekly Kent Music Report and the Australian Music Report to publish the charts in book form as Australian Chart Book, 1970–1992.[4] He followed that with Australian Chart Book (1940–1969) in 2005,[5] Australian Chart Book (1993–2005) in 2006,[6] The Australian top 20 book (1940–2006) in 2007,[7] and Australian Chart Chronicles (1940–2009).[14]

Bibliography

  • Kent, David (29 June 1987). "Kent music report 1974–1987". Australian Music Report. St Ives, N.S.W.: David Kent, 1987 (1–675). ISSN 0156-2223.
  • Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  • Kent, David (4 January 1999). "Australian music report : Kent music report 1987–1999". Australian Music Report. Pymble, N.S.W.: Australian Music Report, 1987–1999 (675–1270). ISSN 0156-2223.
  • Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2005. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  • Kent, David (2006). Australian Chart Book (1993–2005). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2006. ISBN 0-646-45889-2.
  • Kent, David (2007). The Australian top 20 book (1940–2006). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2007. ISBN 978-0-646-47665-0.
  • Kent, David (2009). Australian Chart Chronicles (1940–2008). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2009. ISBN 978-0-646-51203-7.
  • Kent, David, ed. (2010). Australian Chart Book (1993–2009). ISBN 978-0-646-52995-0.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Lowe, Daniel (2003). "Australian Chart History". Archived from the original on 21 November 2005. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  2. ^ "David Kent". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  3. ^ "ARIA Charts FAQs". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ a b Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2005. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  6. ^ a b Kent, David (2006). Australian Chart Book (1993–2005). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2006. ISBN 0-646-45889-2.
  7. ^ a b Kent, David (2007). The Australian top 20 book (1940–2006). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2007. ISBN 978-0-646-47665-0.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Top 40 Radio and the Pop Charts". Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  9. ^ a b c Kent, David. "Australian Chart Book history". Australian Chart Book. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  10. ^ a b "Go-Set Magazine Charts 1966–1974". Poparchives.com. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d e Lowe, Daniel (2003). "Australian Chart History, Part 1". Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d Lowe, Daniel (2003). "Australian Chart History, Part 2". Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  13. ^ a b Lowe, Daniel (2003). "Australian Chart History, Part 3". Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  14. ^ Kent, David (2009). Australian Chart Chronicles (1940–2008). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book, 2009. ISBN 978-0-646-51203-7.
  15. ^ "Australian Chart Book 1993-2009". austchartbook.com.au. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
This page was last edited on 26 February 2019, at 11:53
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