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Alma Gluck, an early vocalist

Alma Gluck, now that’s a name you don’t hear much anymore, but she made it into the Knott family record collection with a 1917 recording of two popular songs.

Opera singers were early recording stars. They had the pipes to produce a clear recording and the content was already familiar. They not only performed songs and arias from operas, but also popular music. Much of the material was somewhere between saccharin and syrupy, reflecting the tastes of the times. As you hear in these examples, the recording technology of the day emphasized the vocalist who stood closer to the recording horn than the other musicians.

It is not surprising that elite entertainers dominated the early recording industry. Many of the early records in the Knott family collection have a marked price of a dollar, about the daily income of most American families at the time. A player cost several months’ pay, putting a Gramophone in the price range of a modern home theater.

To learn more about Alma Gluck, check out this brief biography:

Trivia for the experts: What early TV detective show connects the modern era to Diva Gluck?

Alma Gluck (1916)

A: Such a Lil Fellow

B: My Laddie