Cylinder of the Month

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Sometimes only a true-blue dismal, downcast and downer of a song will do. For such times, we present the exceptional sentimental song Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares as sung by Will Oakland.

Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares

Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 10163
Category Counter-tenor
Title Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares
Performed by Will Oakland
Circa July 1909
Announcement None
Will Oakland (photo, Edison Phonograph Monthly, 1909)

When it comes to despair and loneliness, there is perhaps no better musical catharsis than this month's selection, sung by the incomparable Will Oakland.

One of the great but lesser-known sentimental songs, "Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares" like many of this period, reflected tensions brought about by the growing industrialization and urbanization of society.   Fast-forward a century and this song could easily be addressing the growing abstraction of human contact and isolation felt within computer-based social-networking societies.

Will Oakland's countertenor voice (singing between the tenor and soprano ranges) and his stylistic delivery were perfect for sentimental songs, that, combined with Charles Harris' (a.k.a. the "King of the tear-jerkers") skillful songwriting, produced this sublime early recording of Harris' emotional ballad.   Few recordings have been rendered with such striking combination of sentiment and singer as this.

To hear Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares  —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

Sheet music to Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares (1909) as sung in this recording:
Sheet music to 'Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares', 1909.
Courtesy of the YorkSpace Institutional Repository.

Will Oakland, 1926.
Will Oakland, 1926. Courtesy of the Internet Movie Database.


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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