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The Birth Of The Swing Band

Swing music originated in America in the 1930s and became very popular finding its own unique style in the 1940s. […]

Swing music originated in America in the 1930s and became very popular finding its own unique style in the 1940s. The backbone of any swing band is the rhythm section and the drums being the lead line for the brass and woodwind sections.


The term swing came from a phrase called ‘swing feel’ where the attention came from the weaker beat of a piece of music, unlike classical music which takes its feel from the sharp end a piece of music.Swing music was adapted by many big names in the business such as Benny Goodman who helped put a different spin on the music so it became very easy to dance to. Infact many dance moves were born through the birth of danceable swing music.

Swing bands began playing Boogie-woogie and Hot swing in the 1940s and remained very popular for the next 10 years.

Swing and jazz

The time between 1934 and 1947 was the peak of big swing bands and this time was actually known as the swing era. Benny Goodman was perhaps the first bandleader in this time to reach the dizzy heights of fame in this genre. Until swing music became popular, Jazz music was the dominant force as popular music and many top musicians throughout the world found themselves switching their styles of music to keep up with the change of direction.

Swing singers and crooners

Swing jazz slowly started to be embraced by the general public and it wasn’t long before the bandleaders had to step aside to accommodate lead vocals into the music. Heartthrob vocalists with image and attitude were slowly replacing the new Glen Millers and Benny Goodman’s of the world.

The swing era was slowly changing and bandleaders had to step aside for the crooners such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the Dorsey brothers. It was the swing bands that helped these artists launch their own careers into pop stardom. With the help of fantastic arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, the American songbook was born, other singers such as Ella FitzGerald, Nat king Cole, Judy Garland,Matt Munro,Bobby Darin all had great success accompanied with swing bands in this era and all went on to become household names.

During world war II swing bands became less popular as styles changed and the big swing bands became just too expensive to use on a regular basis, swing bands were becoming simply too big to manage and the size of swing bands took a different form.
Smaller bands were formed and much more manageable 4 and 5 piece arrangements were the way forward.

In the late 1950 s swing music saw a small revival

But the vocalists dominated the sound and the day of the bandleaders was well and truly over. The easy listening sound of the crooner dominated the airwaves and became the music choice of millions.

By Shaun Downes from the Rat Pack Boys. Shaun and the gang are a tribute act for the Rat Pack and offer a singing waiters routine that will stun your guests.

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