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Music Hall

Most popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Music Hall derives from the quintessentially British performers who combined pop standards and vaudevillian comedy numbers. It is characterized by kitschy dramatics, sing-along choruses, horns, tinkling pianos, and either stomping beats or smooth crooning. In a sense they were variety shows in music and theater. A number of different musical pieces were performed for the music hall including ballads, select operatic arias, minstrel acts, comic turns, and monologues. Although recordings exist from the pre-WWI era, few performers became recording stars, except for latter-day inheritors such as Stanley Holloway or Noel Coward (and, much later, Anthony Newley). During the '60s, the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Small Faces were some of the first bands to incorporate this style of British music into rock & roll, followed quickly by the whimsical psychedelia of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and early David Bowie. Throughout the next three decades of rock & roll history, a number of British artists dabbled in this tradition, from pub rockers like Ian Dury to ska revivalists like Madness and Britpoppers like Blur.