Historians agree that the human voice was likely the first musical instrument utilized by prehistoric peoples. Tens of thousands of years and multiple technological shifts later, the voice remains the most powerful, expressive and personal of all our musical tools. Every day around the world for hundreds of reasons, people lift their voices and sing regardless of their level of training, talent or professional aspirations. If all human-made instruments were to suddenly disappear from the earth, music could still be made through the power of the voice.
Prior to the dominant era of recorded music in the American pop music continuum, many families of various means kept a piano and a stack of sheet music in their parlor for post-dinner bonding and entertainment. In those days, singing popular songs was not a dreamy vehicle for stardom; it was an enriching pastime to share with loved ones. There were surely professional musicians in orchestras, touring shows, churches, and other institutions, as well as popular interpreters of song on the radio and in the movies, but the point was the song, not the singer. The star-making machinery had not yet been set in motion.