50 Popular Swing Songs for Weddings
Swing songs are the best way to get people on the dance floor at your wedding reception. There are many types of swing dances including West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Shag, Jitterbug, Shim Sham, Jive, and Lindy Hop.
The swing era is from 1935-1945. For more examples of swing era songs, please visit our best of the 1940’s song list. Swing music was popularized by Big Bands with charismatic bandleaders; the swing beat has existed before that.
Although the swing era is what we commonly think of for swing music, many current artists have carried the torch including Christina Aguilera, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Brian Setzer Orchestra. Swing era musicians include Glenn Miller Orchestra, Dorsey Brothers, and Duke Ellington.
What Is Swing Music?
Swing music was the pop music of the 1930s and was popularized by the Big Bands. Swing rhythm is technically pushing the beat a bit. For the less technical, we just know it makes us want to dance.
“In traditional jazz, swing is typically applied to eighth notes. In other genres, such as funk and jazz-rock, swing is often applied to sixteenth notes.” Wikipedia
Swing dancing is characterized by an 8-count circular basic or “swing out” and has an emphasis on improvisation. Swing can be danced to any style of music but is primarily danced to Jazz and Blues songs where the beat is swinging. Swing dancing was very popular in the 1920s through the 1940s and saw a resurgence in the 2000s and with Generation Y.
In addition, all racial backgrounds performed swing music. It was not just for one type of person from the beginning. However, with the rise of bebop and the Musicians’ Union recording ban in 1942, swing faded away in the hearts of most. Orchestras performed most swing music with many band members. It was very difficult to travel with so many people and make a profit as time went on.
Swing is Fun and Sophisticated
If you are looking for a more upbeat song for your first dance, swing songs are it! Everyone loves to see a groom twirling the bride around the atmosphere. Swing songs have a classification of being more sophisticated and classy. Swing songs are very appropriate for black-tie events. Throughout the years people from all walks of life enjoyed swing music.
Bring Swing Into Your Wedding Reception
Think dancing swing is too hard? It really isn’t. You can include instructions as part of the reception like we suggest for line dancing.
“A lot of people love watching swing dancing but don’t think that they could learn those steps themselves. If you have guests like this, take it upon yourself to teach them a few swing steps. By the time the night is over, they’ll be dancing like old pros.” SwingFever.com
There are variations in style, but for this blog post, we focus on East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing.
Best Swing Songs – East and West
East Coast Swing Songs
East Coast Swing has a 6-count basic step. East Coast Swing is either “rock step, step, step” or “step, step, rock step.” It is danced with uptempo songs. The dancers dance in a circular pattern and utilize a large area. Other variations include Jitterbug, Boogie-Woogie, Jive, and Lindy Hop. East Coast Swing is a faster dance than West Coast Swing.
What Is The Jitterbug Dance?
The Jitterbug dance is a style of swing dancing that became popular in the early 1900s. It is 6 counts of music with 4 basic steps.
Here is a video of the basic jitterbug dance:
3 Modern East Coast Swing Songs
- 1, 2, 3, 4 – Plain White T’s
- Budapest – George Ezra
- Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor
West Coast Swing Songs
Traditional West Coast Swing includes 6-count and 8-count patterns. The dancers dance linearly and in a compact area. Other variations include whip, shag, and push. West coast swing is a slower dance than east coast swing
3 Modern West Coast Swing Songs
- Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
- Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
- Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
Top 5 Big Band Era Swing Songs
- In The Mood – Glenn Miller Band
- Sing, Sing, Sing – Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
- Take the “A” Train – Duke Ellington
- Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – Andrews Sisters
- Begin The Beguine – Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
Top 4 1990s Swing Revival Songs
- Zoot Suit Riot – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
- Jump Jive An’ Wail – Brian Setzer Orchestra
- Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega
- Go Daddy-O – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Other ballroom song lists to read:
What are the Best Swing Songs for My Wedding Reception?
The best swing songs for your wedding reception have been listed below. Did we leave one out? Let us know in the comments.
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Swing wedding song list curated by Matthew Campbell
Last Updated: January 29, 2021
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