Swing Songs: East Coast & West Coast for a Wedding Playlist

Updated November 17, 2023 | Author: Matthew Campbell

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 to 1945. For more examples of swing-era songs, please visit our best of the 1940s song list. Swing music was popularized by Big Bands with charismatic bandleaders; the swing beat existed before that.

Although the swing era is what I commonly think of as swing music, many current artists have carried the torch including Christina Aguilera, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Brian Setzer Orchestra. Swing-era musicians include the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Dorsey Brothers, and Duke Ellington.

swing dance songs list

As an experienced wedding DJ, I’ve assembled a list of swing dance songs. Songs are selected by the meaning of the song and popular hits by today’s couples. Besides new and trending, additional lists are grouped by genre to match your taste in music.

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.

Modern East Coast Swing Songs

  1. “1, 2, 3, 4” by Plain White T’s
  2. “Budapest” by George Ezra
  3. “Dear Future Husband” by 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.

Modern West Coast Swing Songs

  1. “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE
  2. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
  3. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

Big Band Era Swing Songs

  1. “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller Band
  2. “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra
  3. “Take the ‘A’ Train” by Duke Ellington
  4. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by Andrews Sisters
  5. “Begin The Beguine” by Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
  6. “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra

1990s Swing Revival Songs

  1. “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
  2. “Jump Jive An’ Wail” by Brian Setzer Orchestra
  3. “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega
  4. “Go Daddy-O” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
 

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Best Country Tracks

  1. Cowboy Casanova – Carrie Underwood
  2. Good Time – Alan Jackson
  3. Honky Tonk Badonkadonk – Trace Adkins
  4. Baby Likes to Rock It – The Tractors

Tip

Next: Test your dancing skills with a list of tango songs.

 

Famous Rock Hits

  1. Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
  2. Sugar – Maroon 5
  3. Budapest – George Ezra
  4. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
  5. 1, 2, 3, 4 – Plain White T’s
  6. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
  7. Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
  8. Jump Jive An’ Wail – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  9. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  10. Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
  11. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  12. Old Time Rock & Roll – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  13. Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan
  14. Rock This Town – Stray Cats
  15. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  16. Oh Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
  17. Great Balls of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
  18. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
  19. (We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & His Comets

Tip

If you get tired from swing dancing, slow things down with songs to dance the waltz.

 

Popular Pop Tunes

  1. Dance with Me Tonight – Olly Murs
  2. Down – Fifth Harmony feat. Gucci Mane
  3. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
  4. Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  5. Into You – Ariana Grande
  6. Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
  7. Dear Future Husband – Meghan Trainor
  8. Bang Bang – Jessie J ft. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
  9. Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake
  10. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
  11. Love You Like A Love Song – Selena Gomez & The Scene
  12. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  13. Fireflies – Owl City
  14. Candyman – Christina Aguilera
  15. The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani
  16. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
  17. Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega
  18. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  19. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrews Sisters

Tip

Think you are a dance expert? Try your luck with music for quickstep dancing.

 

Upbeat Jazz Hits

  1. Go Daddy-O – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  2. Zoot Suit Riot – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
  3. Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra
  4. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra
  5. Take The ‘A’ Train – Duke Ellington
  6. In The Mood – Glenn Miller Orchestra
  7. Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
  8. Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) – Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Tip

Keep your dancing shoes on and try dancing to the cha cha songs.

 

Happy R&B Songs

  1. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste
  2. Work From Home – Fifth Harmony
  3. She Came II Give It II U – Usher feat. Nicki Minaj
  4. Forever Swing – Tucka King of Swing feat. Doug E Fresh
  5. Tightrope – Janelle Monáe feat. Big Boi
  6. Because Of You – Ne-Yo
  7. Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett

Tip

Glide on the dance floor with your partner to this music for nightclub two-step dancing and country two-step songs.

Swing Dance Music

  1. Feels – Calvin Harris feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean
  2. I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix) – Mike Posner
  3. Parov Stelar – Booty Swing
  4. Lean On – Major Lazer feat. MØ & DJ Snake
  5. Fireball – Pitbull feat. John Ryan
  6. Timber – Pitbull feat. Ke$ha

Tip

Last but not least, bring back foxtrot songs to show off your dancing prowess.

Unique Hip Hop Tunes

  1. Fancy – Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
  2. Good Feeling – Flo Rida

Do you have a favorite swing song? Please share your song below in the comments!

Quick video of swing song picks.

 

FAQs

Swing music was the pop music of the 1930s and was popularized by Big Bands. The swing rhythm is technically pushing the beat a bit. For the less technical, we just know it makes us want to dance.

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.

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:

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.

Think dancing swing is too hard? It really isn’t. You can include instructions as part of the reception as I suggest for line dancing for everyone.

There are variations in style, but for this blog post, I focus on East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing.

Why trust Matthew Campbell?

DJ, Author, Music Lover

matt

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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Angler
Angler
1 year ago

For the Swing era, how could you forget “Moonlight Serenade”, 1939, by Glenn Miller? IMHO, one of the most romantic songs of the era.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
1 year ago
Reply to  Angler

Thank you. I will add your song suggestion to the list!