1940s Wedding Songs: Dancing at Your Wedding in Timeless Elegance

Updated October 31, 2023 | Author: Matthew Campbell

The 1940s saw the US entering WWII as well as ending it. Ticker tape parades and famous kisses celebrated victories in Europe and Japan.

Emerging from that war changed the mood of the country and gave birth (literally) to the Boomer Generation.

The songs of the 1940s make us feel good, and want to get off our chairs and dance all night long.

That’s why they are the perfect decade to add to your wedding reception playlist!

best 40s wedding music songs

When picking out 1940s songs for your wedding, you must consider the following 3 factors:

  1. What is the tempo of the song to determine the style of dance?
  2. What is the meaning of the song and is it appropriate for your wedding?
  3. Does the song’s genre match the theme of your wedding?

Trending 1940s Wedding Songs

  1. “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf
  2. “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller Orchestra
  3. “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons” by Nat King Cole
  4. “Day By Day” by Frank Sinatra
  5. “I’ll Dance At Your Wedding” by Buddy Clark & Ray Noble & His Orchestra
  6. “As Time Goes By” by Dooley Wilson
  7. “Anniversary Song” by Al Jolson
  8. “I Love You” by Bing Crosby
  9. “Till The End Of Time” by Perry Como
  10. “Take The ‘A’ Train” by Duke Ellington

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As an experienced wedding DJ, I’ve assembled a list of popular 1940s songs to get people on the dance floor and for romance at your wedding! The list is grouped by genre to match your taste in music.

1940s Jazz Hits

  1. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer
  2. A Tree In The Meadow – Margaret Whiting
  3. Anniversary Song – Al Jolson (anniversary dance song)
  4. Lover Man (Oh Where Can He Be) – Billie Holiday
  5. Groovin’ High – Dizzy Gillespie
  6. Rum And Coca-Cola – The Andrews Sisters
  7. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive – Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters
  8. ‘Round Midnight – Thelonious Monk
  9. I’m Making Believe – Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots
  10. Black, Brown and Beige – Duke Ellington
  11. Paper Doll – The Mills Brothers
  12. God Bless the Child – Billie Holiday
  13. A Night in Tunisia – Dizzy Gillespie
  14. Take The ‘A’ Train – Duke Ellington
  15. Frenesi – Artie Shaw
  16. Nuages – Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli
  17. I’ll Be Seeing You – Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra
  18. In The Blue of Evening – Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra
  19. Body and Soul – Coleman Hawkins
  20. In a Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington

1940s Pop Favorites

  1. Rag Mop – The Ames Brothers
  2. Buttons And Bows – Dinah Shore
  3. Dear Hearts And Gentle People – Dinah Shore
  4. I Can Dream, Can’t I? – The Andrews Sisters
  5. I’ll Dance At Your Wedding – Buddy Clark & Ray Noble & His Orchestra (money dance song(
  6. Peg O’ My Heart – Buddy Clark
  7. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf (slow dance song)
  8. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly – Dinah Shore
  9. Day By Day – Frank Sinatra
  10. Five Minutes More – Frank Sinatra
  11. Oh! What It Seemed To Be – Frank Sinatra
  12. Prisoner Of Love – Perry Como
  13. Till The End Of Time – Perry Como (first dance song)
  14. I’ll Walk Alone – Dinah Shore
  15. Dearly Beloved – Rita Hayworth
  16. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrews Sisters (swing dance song)

1940s Big Band Tracks

  1. Cruising Down The River – Blue Barron
  2. I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover – Art Mooney
  3. Twelfth Street Rag – Pee Wee Hunt
  4. Ballerina – Vaughn Monroe
  5. Symphony – Benny Goodman And His Orchestra
  6. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Les Brown And His Orchestra
  7. That’s My Desire – Sammy Kaye
  8. The Old Lamp-Lighter – Sammy Kaye
  9. Artistry in Rhythm – Stan Kenton
  10. I’m Beginning To See The Light – Harry James Orchestra
  11. My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time – Les Brown
  12. There! I’ve Said It Again – Vaughn Monroe
  13. Solo Flight – Charlie Christian & Benny Goodman Orchestra
  14. Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much) – Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
  15. Sentimental Journey – Les Brown Band
  16. Opus No. 1 – Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
  17. I’ve Heard That Song Before – Harry James
  18. Jersey Bounce – Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
  19. Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me) – Glenn Miller
  20. Moonlight Cocktail – Glenn Miller Orchestra
  21. Sleepy Lagoon – Harry James
  22. Jingle, Jangle, Jingle – Kay Kyser And His Orchestra
  23. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton
  24. Stardust – Artie Shaw
  25. Elmer’s Tune – Glenn Miller Orchestra
  26. Jukebox Saturday Night – Glenn Miller Orchestra
  27. Chattanooga Choo Choo – Glenn Miller
  28. String Of Pearls – Glenn Miller
  29. You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want To Do It) – Harry James And His
  30. Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy) – Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra
  31. Green Eyes – Jimmy Dorsey
  32. Maria Elena – Jimmy Dorsey
  33. Daddy – Sammy Kaye
  34. Imagination – Glenn Miller Orchestra
  35. Pennsylvania 6-5000 – Glenn Miller
  36. Tuxedo Junction – Glenn Miller
  37. The Breeze And I – Jimmy Dorsey
  38. I’ll Never Smile Again – Tommy Dorsey
  39. Amor – Xavier Cugat & His Orchestra
  40. Brazil – Xavier Cugat & His Orchestra
  41. In The Mood – Glenn Miller Orchestra (party dance song)
  42. Auld Lang Syne – Guy Lombardo (New Year’s song)

1940s Vocal Tunes

  1. Again – Doris Day
  2. Some Enchanted Evening – Ezio Pinza
  3. To Each His Own – Eddy Howard
  4. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – James Baskett
  5. I Love You – Bing Crosby
  6. Sunday, Monday or Always – Bing Crosby
  7. Be Careful It’s My Heart – Bing Crosby
  8. As Time Goes By – Dooley Wilson (first dance song)
  9. Only Forever – Bing Crosby
  10. When You Wish Upon A Star – Cliff Edwards
  11. I’ll Get By (As Long as I Have You) – Dick Haymes

1940s R&B Songs

  1. Nature Boy – Nat King Cole
  2. Get Your Kicks On Route 66 – Nat King Cole
  3. I Love You For Sentimental Reasons – Nat King Cole
  4. Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (My Baby) – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
  5. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – The Ink Spots

1940s Country Chart Toppers

  1. Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy – Red Foley
  2. Near You – Francis Craig Orchestra
  3. New San Antonio Rose – Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

1940s Blues Beats

  1. Boogie Chillen’ – John Lee Hooker
  2. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Wynonie Harris
  3. Caldonia – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
  4. G.I. Jive – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five

1940s Folk Sing-Alongs

  1. This Land Is Your Land – Woody Guthrie

1940s Bluegrass

  1. Foggy Mountain Breakdown – Earl Scruggs

Do you have a favorite 1940s wedding song? Please share the song below and why it is special to you.



When you think of 1940s songs, you likely think of swing and big bands. Jazz became popular and its swing became the pop music of that era. The 1940s gave birth to rock and roll — not yet accepted by the masses.

Popular big band artists from the 1940s include Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey (brothers), Benny Goodman, and Dizzy Gillespie.

The 1940s jazz artists include Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. A form of jazz called scat also became popular with artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, scat music “is a jazz vocal style using emotive, onomatopoeic, and nonsense syllables instead of words in solo improvisations on a melody.”

The 1940s were stricken with the war ending with the finality of dropping the first nuclear bomb. This decade saw women going to work while men were off fighting a war. The war also got America out of the depression by creating many jobs. Popular film stars included actors Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, and Humphrey Bogart. An invention prominent in the music industry took place in 1949 with the rpm 45 record. Although television’s debut was in 1939, commercial television with 13 stations became available to the public in 1947.

Radio was the main source of news, music, and entertainment in the 1940s. Pin-up girls became icons with enlisted men, such as Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. A new look for women was introduced after the war ended – feminine dresses with long, full skirts, and tight waists. Men’s fashion was at its apex with their zoot suits. It’s difficult to separate culture, fashion, and music. So, what makes the music special?

Examples of swing music come from upbeat sounds that are in a widely popular dance style – the Jitterbug. For a younger military generation, the Jitterbug overtook the slower waltz and foxtrot which were seen as boring and outdated. However, in the mid to late 1940s, the Jitterbug style recreated itself. It became easier to dance and regenerated itself at the beginning of rock and roll.

Swing became a very popular dance style in the 1940s. Examples of swing dance types include lindy hop, east coast swing, and west coast swing. Two other popular dances of the Best 1940s music were the jive, part of swing, and tap dancing.

Why trust Matthew Campbell?

DJ, Author, Music Lover


Matthew (Matt) Campbell is the founder/editor of My Wedding Songs from his experience as a wedding DJ. He is the author of two wedding planners: ‘Wedding Songs Planner’ and ‘The Wedding Music Toolkit’. Matt is the host of the ‘Wedding Songs Podcast’. He shares music inspiration in his weekly newsletter the ‘Wedding MusicLetter’. His articles have been published on Rolling Stone, DJ Life Magazine, and DJ Times. Matt resides in the wedding capital of the world – Las Vegas.

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