Though developed for use in the telephone, the microphone showed its full cultural force in music. Beginning in the 1920s the mic migrated into nightclubs and recording studios with dramatic results. For instance, it amplified the voice of the string bass, which bumped the tuba from jazz-combo lineups. But that's just a blip compared to the seismic shift that the microphone caused among vocalists. Early adopter Bing Crosby used the mic to develop a more natural and intimate singing style called crooning--and lo, the frontman (and woman) was born, eventually gaining iconic status thanks to a lineage that includes Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, James Brown and Mick Jagger. - Popular Mechanics
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