COMMENT

Tracing the invention of any artform is messy. For every perceived ground zero, there is someone who was doing the same thing, earlier and independently.

Often, artists arrive at the same idea at the same time.

In science, this is called “multiple independent discovery” – the hypothesis that most strides forward are made by various people, independent of each other. There’s a common pattern in humanity, in nature, in the universe, which saw the formulation of calculus, the invention of the crossbow, the discovery of oxygen, the development of the theory of evolution, and the creation of the telephone arrived at separately and simultaneously by many unconnected people around the world.

Of course, as we know, the most important invention of man is the concept album.

And although there are examples of what could retroactively be considered concept albums happening the ’40s, in truth the concept album as a thing was popularised not in the mid-’60s by psychedelic warriors such as The Beatles and Brian Wilson, but in the late ’40s and throughout the ’50s by crooner (and possible JFK assassination conspirator) Frank Sinatra.

Firstly, let’s take a look at those examples from the ’40s that deserve our consideration.