Home Page | Swing Page

East Coast Swing Songs at Amazon Mp3

Singer/Band Song Title Singer/Band Song Title
  • Bruce Springstein
  • John Mellencamp
  • The Archies
  • Steven Seagul
  • Van Halen
  • Pink Cadillac
  • Crumblin' Down
  • Sugar Sugar
  • She Dat Pretty
  • Pretty Woman
  • Bon Jovi
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Patti Austin
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Runaway
  • Get Off Of My Cloud
  • Ability to Swing
  • Pride and Joy
  • I Can't Drive 55

Swing dancing is known as a fun, energetic dance. But where would dancers be without the exciting, frenetic music that accompanies their cool moves? Loud, jazzy music is essential for any form of swing dancing to occur. People in the 1920s knew that for sure!

Characterized by traditional jazzy roots, swing music is often played by a large live band. Utilizing a strong rhythm section, many swing bands feature drums and double bass at the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments. Trumpets and trombones combine with saxophones and clarinets, and are sometimes joined by stringed instruments, like guitars and violins.

Traditionally larger than the average jazz band, musicians were forced to be more detailed and organized when it came to composing. The swing rhythm was the defining characteristic of the music, and remains this way today. It's lively style is enhanced by experimentation, riffs and solos from the talented musicians.

Swing music really originated back in the 1920s in the black community. As club goers danced to traditional jazz, they created the Lindy Hop and the Charleston. In 1926, the Savoy Ballroom opened in New York, where the best black jazz bands could go and play this exciting new music – swinging jazz. All the best dancers and the most passionate music lovers flocked to the Savoy Ballroom.

A few years later, a band leader named Cab Calloway penned a new tune and named it the Jitterbug. With it's bouncy six beat variation, it became a popular new song, inspiring the newest swing dance craze. Along with the Lindy hop, the Jitterbug sparked an enormous trend across the United States. Dancers began create new steps as they danced to the jazz and swing music, and even started to incorporate traditional jazz and tap dance steps into their moves.

Benny Goodman was a key leader in the swing dance music trend. Known as the King of Swing, Benny was a jazz and swing musician, who played the clarinet and was the leader of his popular jazz band. His performance at the Palomar Ballroom in 1935 brought swing music to a wider audience. He helped create the Swing Era, and paved the way for such artists as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. Glenn Miller, Billie Holiday and Cole Porter also had major radio hits with jazzy swing music.

Louis Armstrong was once asked about the origins of swing. "Ah, swing, well, we used to call it ragtime, then blues–then jazz. Now, it's swing. White folks yo'all sho is a mess. Swing!” Truly, swing music was simply the product of an evolution of many previous genres.

When World War II broke out, many men were sent overseas and people began to lose interest in swing music. Big bands were more difficult to staff with so many men abroad fighting for their country. The war, combined with a recording ban from 1942-1948 (musicians' unions were on strike) made it difficult for much new swing music to be produced at all.

Today, swing music can be heard in many genres. The Australian rock and roll band Jet scored a number one hit with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” a song with major swing influences. Lady Gaga's “Just Dance” is a popular song for lindy hoppers. More traditional swing sound can be heard from artists like the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.

Often considered the most interesting and vital of all the music associated with ballroom dancing, swing has evolved through the years to stay modern and current no matter the decade. With the opportunity for improvisation, exploration and virtuosity, singers, musicians and dancers alike can boldly go where no other has gone before. This ability to keep things fresh is why swing music is clearly here to stay.

Works Cited

"East Coast Swing." American Dance - Learn Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Country/Western, Salsa dancing and more!. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. .

Schuller, Gunther. The swing era: the development of jazz, 1930-1945. London: Oxford University Press, 1989. Print.

"Swing Era: Style." American Studies @ The University of Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. .

"Swing Music Net - Jazz Music And Jazz History." Swing Music Net - Jazz Music And Jazz History. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. .