Top 100 1940s Wedding Songs
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, 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!
Table of Contents:
- 1940s Wedding Songs
- 1940s Wedding Songs Spotify Playlist
- Top 10 1940s Songs
- Questions about 1940s Songs
Best 1940s Songs For Your Wedding
We’ve calculated our favorite 1940s songs to get people on the dance floor at your wedding. Did we miss your favorite?
1940s wedding song list curated by Matthew Campbell
Last Updated: March 30, 2021
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Do you have a favorite 1940s wedding song? Please share the song below and why it is special to you.
Top 5 1940s Songs
- “Paper Doll” by Mills Brothers
- “Moonlight Cocktail” by Glenn Miller
- “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” by The King Cole Trio
- “Sentimental Journey” by Les Brown & Doris Day
- “Ballerina” by Vaughn Monroe
The Culture Shift in the 1940s
The 1940s was 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 records. 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?
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What Makes the 1940s Songs Special?
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.”
Swing Dancing and The Jitterbug
From the upbeat sounds came 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 as the beginning of rock and roll.
Swing became a very popular dance style in the 1940s. 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.
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