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FREE Lindy Music: LIVE Playlists and Rabbits

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This thread started as a single playlist and has evolved to a total of 67 playlists I've created. Sixty-five of the playlists were created at and the other two at The grooveshark playlists present mp3s of lindy friendly songs organized mostly by artist within genre. You do not need to set up an account to play the songs on the grooveshark playlists. The focus of the playlists is youtube videos of artist live performances, bios, and interviews. Be aware that the the first part of the thread may seem a bit disjointed; that's because the original playlist changed dramatically due to changes to the website.

My hope is that these playlists may be of some interest to three types of listeners. First, newer dancers could use it to discover new songs and artists, connect song titles/artists to tunes they've heard, practice to them at home, etc. Second there are perhaps those out there who like to listen to swing dance music from time to time but not enough to want to pay for a lot of the songs. And finally, with over 2,000 distinct titles organized in different ways, DJs will hopefully find an efficient and convenient resource for music discovery.

Here is an organized summary of all my playlists with individual links. You can find descriptions for all of the playlists in the rest of the thread. Also I provide links to many other resources along the way for further exploration. If you're a new dancer, I recommend checking out Beginner Practice, 250 Lindy Hop Faves, and the series of TOP 15 Songs By Genre playlists. Just a reminder that these playlists/resources are intended as a community resource for all types of dancers and listeners. Indeed many of the songs (about 25%) included in the playlists were culled from various sources in our community (on-line DJ playlists, swingdjs, hey mister jesse podcasts, etc.). Hopefully you will make dancers aware of this resource and don't forget you can tell people to enter the word "rabbits" in the yehoodi search area to get them to this thread.

BLIP.FM PLAYLISTS: Interface to youtube videos of live performances, interviews, bios...
Vintage Artists
Modern Artists

Major Genres
Vintage Classic Swing
More Vintage Classic Swing
Modern Classic Swing
Hot Jazz: Then and Now
Swingin' Vocal Jazz 125+ bpm
Instrumentals of Jazz Vocal Standards
Vintage Jump Blues
Modern Jump Blues & Neowing

Other Genres
Da Blues: Then and Now
Groove & Funk
Boogie Woogie: Then and Now
R&B, Soul, and Motown
Western Swing: Then and Now
Swingin' Gospel Tunes
Swingin' Yuletide Tunes

Rock & Pop
Vintage Rockabilly
1950s Rock
Post 1950s Rock/Pop

Swing Covers of Rock/Pop Tunes
Rock/Pop Stars Swing

By Tempo
Fast Swing 195+ bpm
Slow Swing 125- bpm

By Number of Singers
Swingin' Vocal Duets
Swingin' Vocal Groups

Swing Grab Bag
250 Lindy Hop Faves
Beginner Practice
Sprechen Sie Swing?
Classical Swing
Scattin' While Singin' and Swingin'
Sunny Side of the Street
Dance Music, Literally

Just for Fun
Risque, Suggestive Tunes
"High" on Swing
A Thirst for Swing Music
Hand Clappin' Swing Songs
The Cycle of Love
Swingin' Halloween Treat
Swing All Day Long
Swing All Week Long
Swing All Year Long
Swing For All Seasons
DJs - Last Song of Night?
Yule Not Be Bored
Swing Remixes & Mashups
Swingin' St Patrick's Day
Swingin' the Alphabet

Top 15 Songs By Genre
TOP 15 Vintage Classic Swing
TOP 15 Modern Classic Swing
TOP 15 Vintage Hot Jazz
TOP 15 Modern Hot Jazz
TOP 15 Vintage Vocal Jazz
TOP 15 Modern Vocal Jazz
TOP 15 Vocal Duets
TOP 15 Vintage Jump Blues
TOP 15 Modern Jump Blues
TOP 15 Traditional Blues
TOP 15 R&B,Soul,Motown
TOP 15 Gospel
TOP 15 Groove
TOP 15 Boogie Woogie
TOP 15 Western Swing
TOP 15 1950s Rock
TOP 15 Post 1950s Rock
TOP 15 Yuletide

NOTE: You may access all of my grooveshark playlists through this single link

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

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  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1749
  • Post #1
  • Originally posted Monday, August 30, 2010 (4 years ago)

Every song results in Unavailable.

  • Joined 1/20/99
  • 14765
  • Post #2
  • Originally posted Monday, August 30, 2010 (4 years ago)

Thanks for creating this! Works for me just great.

  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1749
  • Post #3
  • Originally posted Monday, August 30, 2010 (4 years ago)
Response to rikomatic in post #2 Show

Do you have to have an account or plugin or something? Clicking play on anything for me comes up as Unavailable. :-/

  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1749
  • Post #4
  • Originally posted Monday, August 30, 2010 (4 years ago)
Response to Zenin in post #3 Show

Ah, never mind. NoNameJiver misspoke about not needing additional software: does require Flash to work and it deals with not having Flash available by just returning "Unavailable". I use FlashBlock with Firefox and only enable Flash as needed; Whitelisting fixed it.

  • Joined 9/14/01
  • 3405
  • Post #5
  • Originally posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:42 am (4 years ago)
Response to Zenin in post #4 Show

The vast majority of rich media sites with "intelligent" features like this one are built using Flash. Rich media (audio, video, animation, etc.) nearly always requires a "player" of some sort operating through the browser (like Quicktime, for example) because neither HTML nor even JavaScript are designed to run audio and video on their own. Flash is specifically designed as a platform for designing and implementing rich media "Flash sites", serving as a platform for delivery of text, images and animation through the Flash/Shockwave player at the user end which also functions as the player for streaming audio and video embedded into the site pages.

Although there are a few alternative ways of creating a site of this sort (using JavaScript routines, for example), few developers use them because Flash/Shockwave is an full-featured authoring system product for creating rich media web sites that is integrated into the installers for both Firefox and IE (along with most of the other browsers out there).

So the reason sites can claim that "no special software needs to be installed" is because if you run your browser as it runs "out of the box", Flash is already up and running by default.

So, you should expect to have to enable Flash to get any site like this to work. Basically, telling NoScript or FlashBlock to allow Flash for any particular site like this is the same thing as giving your browser permission to show videos and play music. End users of these security products are expected to know that none of this AV stuff will work without granting this permission.

(BTW ... have you tried getting YouTube to work without Flash? Same kind of issue. All the movies on that site are encoded in FLV (as in "FLash Video") format.)

"A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having" - V

  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1749
  • Post #6
  • Originally posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 (4 years ago)
Response to Racetrack in post #5 Show

Racetrack attempting to school me of all people about the Internet, now that's just comedy.

  • Joined 4/6/99
  • 997
  • Post #7
  • Originally posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 (4 years ago)
Response to Racetrack in post #5 Show
So the reason sites can claim that "no special software needs to be installed" is because if you run your browser as it runs "out of the box", Flash is already up and running by default.

I wonder why they call it a "plug-in" or "add-on"?

A web app that requires a particular configuration of OS/browser/plug-in is not a web app.

Of course that's the pot calling the kettle black, given the big-ass Flash on the front page of Yehoodi. But at least we render something for the non-Flashies out there.

What does do on an iPad, I wonder?

"Chaw, chi-chaw, chi-chaw." - Lindsay Bluth

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #8
  • Originally posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:29 pm (4 months ago)

Removed because no longer relevant

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #9
  • Originally posted Sunday, January 23, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:38 pm (4 months ago)

While resource links are sprinkled throughout this thread, many appear below in this post.

(1) - terrific site enabling download of free mp3s of public domain tracks.
(2) - lots of early jazz songs to listen to here (some download capability.
(3) Spotify/Grooveshark/Rdio - these streaming services (no download) are probably the best tools for music discovery.
(4) - lots of music espcially since google began auto-generating mp3s.
(5) - popular site for contemporary bands.
(6) - also popular site for contemporary bands.

While Basie, Ellington, Goodman,etc. are the foundation of Lindy Hop music, the contemporary bands are in some respects as important to the continued vibrancy of our community. In addition to streaming services, here are some links to other places to listen to some of the more popular contemporary artists/bands in the Lindy Hop community at the moment:

Glenn Crytzer
Naomi Uyama
Mona's Hot Four
Shotgun Jazz Band
Perseverance Jazz Band
Canibal Dandies
Smoking Time Jazz Club
New Orleans Jazz Vipers
Davina And The Vagabonds
Tuba Skinny
Shirt Tail Stompers
Michael Gamble
Red Hook Rambler
Rhythm Junkies
Cassidy and the Orleans Kids
California Honeydrops
Molly Ryan
Hippocampus Jass Gang

Hot Sugar Band
New Orleans Moonshiners
Ron Sunshine
Campus Five
Stompy Jones
Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
Bridgetown Sextet
East Side Dandies
Hot Swing Combo
Meschiya Lake
Twin Cities Hot Club
Palmetto Bug Stompers
Baby Soda Jazz Band
Carsie Blanton
Company B Jazz Band
The Midiri Brothers

Mint Julep Jazz Band
Patty and the Buttons
Miss Jubilee
The Hep Chaps

George Gee
Solomon Douglas
Southside Aces
Bitter Dose Combo
Bria Skonberg
Carling Family
Gentlemen and Gangsters
Grand Street Stompers
Au Brothers
Charmin Michelle
Sly Blue
Tom Cunningham
Boilermaker Jazz Band
David Berger
Bernard Berkhout
The Swingsations
Girls from Mars

GENERAL - HISTORY, DISCUSSION (genres, example artists and songs with bpm) (discussion of genres) (discussion board on all things related to swing music) (excellent site on jazz music and history with special emphasis on swing) (reference site) (reference site)

SONG LISTS and DJ PLAYLISTS (many DJs give their favorite songs and albums) (a top 50 list) (list of popular songs) (favorites organized different ways) (top songs by year) (list of 300 songs) (nice list with bpm from Shesha Marvin);f=1;t=3468(lots of playlists Australia) (lots of playlists here from 8 DJs) (playlists from NYC Frim Fram dance) (from Yehoodi radio) (slow and medium speed songs) (faster songs, includes bpm) (long list of "jump swing") (gazillion playlists from DJ Terry Gardner) (many playlists from Chicago DJ) (includes bpm) (interesting discussion) (250 songs with BPM and song length) (a few playlists from Alain Wong) (some DJ picks) (some more picks) (100 songs w/background text) (weekly song w/background text) (daily song w/full-play link to grooveshark) (beginner dancer's playlist from Solomon D.) (lots of playlists at (spotify)

GENERAL DJ TIPS;f=2;t=530;st=0 (DJ summit at 46:28)

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
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  • Post #10
  • Originally posted Friday, February 18, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Sunday, December 4, 2011 7:53 am (3 years ago)

Removed because no longer relevant

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #11
  • Originally posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Monday, June 11, 2012 9:23 am (3 years ago)

Removed because no longer relevant

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #12
  • Originally posted Friday, March 11, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Monday, January 5, 2015 12:39 pm (3 months ago)


With St. Patrick's day right around the corner, I'm sure many of you will be observing this important day quietly at home with friends and family. This post is for the rest of you. Being 1/4 Irish and currently obsessed with creating playlists, I figured it was appropriate for me to create one to honor the most fun saint of all. Titled A Thirst for Swing Music, it contains 47 songs the theme of which I'm sure you can figure out. But just a bunch of songs about drinking would only be of mild interest so I've tried to string all of the song titles together to tell a story - a not-so-serendipitous arrangement if you will. So when you access the playlist, read down the song title column first and be sure to place your cursor on a few of the titles to view the complete text or it won't make sense in a lot of cases. But wait - that's not all! For those of you who will overimbibe, you will of course need to repent, so I've included a bonus playlist titled Swingin' Gospel Tunes. In the immortal words of one of these songs: "when the spirit(s) move you, you'll shout Hallelujah! Yes Indeed."

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #13
  • Originally posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:45 pm (4 months ago)


NEW! Risque Suggestive Songs - Maybe duets about dancing cheek-to-cheek are a bit too saccharine for some of you. Perhaps you want something more raw and racy laced with double entendre, songs like the immortal My Man Stands Out? Not to worry, and ladies no need to be shy if you like this stuff, I won't stiff you. I'm full-service playlist guy and I've got one that's long on substance which will surely punch your ticket. If you like these type of tunes, check out the well-known album Risque Rhythm and follow the similar albums path.

NEW! Swingin' Vocal Duets - There are lots of songs here from over 50 distinct pairings. If you enjoy vocal duets, the best place to find more is youtube since many artists sang together on television shows and in concerts. Perhaps my all-time favorite duet on youtube: Ella and Jimmy Durante singing Bill Bailey.

NEW! Swingin' Vocal Groups - There are about 120 groups here with one song per group; if you want to see if there are more songs for a group and listen to them, just click on the group's name. If you are interested in exploring lesser known groups from the last century, I suggest you take a look at this set of 3 CDs.

NEW! Fast Swing - I've included songs here that are 195+ bpm and span multiple genres including classic swing, hot jazz, neoswing, jump blues, vocal jazz. Though there are a few exceptions, I tried to select only songs which are played at an up tempo as opposed to those which you hear at medium speed as well.

NEW! Slow Swing - I've selected songs here across genres which are less than or equal to 125 bpm.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 6/18/09
  • 9
  • Post #14
  • Originally posted Monday, April 11, 2011 (4 years ago)

Wow! Thanks so much for this. What a great resource!!

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #15
  • Originally posted Friday, April 15, 2011 (4 years ago)
Response to beatlespwr in post #14 Show

Thanks for the kind words! They couldn't have come at a better time given happenings on another thread. :)

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 7/6/10
  • 5
  • Post #16
  • Originally posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 (4 years ago)

This is great; some of the songs being actual videos from youtube is an added bonus.

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #17
  • Originally posted Sunday, April 17, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Monday, August 5, 2013 4:49 pm (2 years ago)

Removed because no longer relevant

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #18
  • Originally posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 (4 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:47 pm (4 months ago)


NEW! Swingin' Yuletide Tunes - I know what you're thinking: I don't even like to listen to these songs in December - why would I in the middle of June? Well I've compiled a whopping 170 tunes including some of which even the most seasoned DJ probably will not be familiar. The songs span many genres: classic swing, hot jazz, vocal jazz, groove, jump blues, neoswing. There's stuff from both vintage and modern artists. Listen to songs by such contemporary artists as Kermit Ruffins, Jim Cullum, Ron Sunshine, and more. So now, are you in the Christmas spirit?

NEW! Boogie Woogie: Then and Now - Contains over 200 songs with only two instances where a title is repeated. That's enough boogie woogie to last a lifetime! Modern artists appear toward the end. Trivia question: no boogie woogie song ever made it to #1 on the charts but one tune made it to #2. Can you guess which one? No, it's not that one!

NEW! Modern Swing - Created at, this playlist contains mostly video of live performances of about 250 artists organized into these sections: classic swing, boogie woogie, group vocals, individual vocals, neoswing, jump blues, gypsy jazz, hot jazz, western swing, and various. I selected the artists by consulting these primary sources: dj playlists,, Jesse podcasts, yehoodi thread titled "active swing bands", band lists from competitions/exchanges.


  • You can find the year/placement of the boogie woogie songs which made the top 30 by clicking here
  • Here are a few links to lists of modern bands: Link 1 Link 2 Link 3

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #19
  • Originally posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 (3 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:49 pm (4 months ago)


NEW! Swingin' Vocal Jazz - This playlist contains about 250 distinct titles mostly from what is referred to as the Great American Songbook. These are popular standards composed primarily from 1920 to 1950 which emphasize melody and lyrics with a laid back rhythm section and were written mostly by many of America's finest composers/lyricists including Gershwin, Rodgers, Ellington, Porter, Warren, Berlin, Arlen, McHugh, Loesser, Mercer and so on. But that's not all - they are sung by more than 100 of the finest vocalists past and present. I've excluded ballads with almost all of the songs being 125+ bpm. Songs under 125bpm can be found in my Slow Swing playlist. We have many youngins in our community who may not be familiar with many, if not most, of these songs. This playlist helps them not only discover some great tunes but also hear just about every major jazz vocalist. If you want to hear more from a particular singer, just click his/her name in the Artist column to bring up a list of other available songs. I envy those of you who will be hearing some of these songs and singers for the first time.

NEW! Scattin' While Singin' and Swingin' - This playlist contains roughly 75 songs from leading scat singers including Fitzgerald, Armstrong, Vaughan, Torme, Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr, Cab Calloway and more. I've been providing supplementary links with my playlists and I believe the links (below in the "notes" section) to youtube videos featuring scat singing may prove more interesting than the playlist itself. You'll be able to view Ella and Torme scattin' together at the Grammy's and watch Sammy Davis Jr. school Johnny Carson on how to scat. BTW don't youtube videos of legendary singers and musicians really help our community in particular? Even though almost all of these performers are now gone, the videos of live performances really help bring the personalities and music to life for newcomers to our dance.

NEW! Western Swing: Then and Now - Western Swing contains about 100 songs including vintage artists like Bob Wills, Milton Brown and Hank Penny (the Basies and Goodmans of western swing) and modern bands like Hot Club Of Cowtown and Red Stick Ramblers.


Here are some links related to jazz vocalists and scatting you might find useful or interesting.

Jazz Vocalists
List from
List from DDD
Comprehensive List from Wikipedia
Brief Bios of Female Vocalists
More Brief Bios

Scatting Videos
Ella Alone
Ella and Mel Torme
Ella and Sammy Davis
Sammy Davis Teaches Johnny Carson Starting at 8:20
Gillespie Mumbles Video
Bill Henderson Mumbles Follow-up
Louis Armstrong
Leo Watson
Anita Wardell Trumpet Mimicking
Collage of Various Female Vocalists

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #20
  • Originally posted Tuesday, September 6, 2011 (3 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:53 pm (4 months ago)


NEW! Hot Jazz: Then and Now - Happy upbeat brassy music from New Orleans, Chicago, and Holland (huh?). There are about 140 distinct titles meaning that pretty much all of the popular hot jazz tunes can be found here. The songs are performed by roughly 85 leading artists, past and present.

NEW! Groove & Funk - The term "groove" often means different things to people. In this playlist, I present about 120 tunes from 70 artists which fall mostly, but not exclusively, into a genre called "soul jazz" and have a bluesy feel to them. You will notice that some of them are too long for dancing so they would have to be edited or faded for this purpose.

NEW! Da Blues: Then and Now - Contains over 150 songs from both the pioneers of this genre as well as modern artists close to our community. There are very few really slow blues songs here so most should be danceable.

NEW! R&B, Soul, and Motown - Contains about 150 tunes from around 75 artists. My favorite genre of any kind of music to listen to is 1970s R&B/Soul. Alas, little of that music is really conducive to lindy hopping; however, this playlist's songs mostly from the 50s and 60s are danceable.

NEW! The Cycle of Love - You may remember in my earlier playlist titled A Thirst for Swing Music I tried to sequence the song titles to tell a story (btw, check out post #12 in this thread and re-read title sequence, i've added 15 new drinkin' songs). I've decided to try this again with a different theme which you will discern as you read through the 40 song titles. And since grooveshark will drop songs without notice from one's playlist, I present them below hopefully for your amusement and also as a way to discover some new songs and different versions of familiar ones:

I Ain't Got Nobody
Another Saturday Night (and I ain't got nobody)
Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week
Loungin' at the Waldorf
My Heart Stood Still
It's Crazy (but I'm in love)
At Long Last Love
Makin' Whoopee
I've Got the World on a String
Golden Earrings
You're Getting to be a Habit with Me
Love and Marriage
Hesitation Blues
Put That Ring on my Finger
My Baby Said Yes
I'll dance at Your Wedding
Wild Party
The Stripper
Get Me to the Church on Time
Don't Falter at the Altar
Golden Wedding
Wedding Bell Swing
The Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Swing
Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day
Let's Party
Dance Me to the End of Love
I Married an Angel
April in Paris
The Honeymoon's Over
Unemployment Stomp
Money's Gettin Cheaper
Hittin' the Bottle
Mean to Me
Hound Dog
You're Cheatin' Yourself
Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Married Blues
Things Ain't What They Used To Be
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
I'm Walkin'
Be My Guest
Money Honey
Alimony Blues
Datin' with No Dough
They Can't Take That Away From Me
I Ain't Got Nobody


  • If you are interested in exploring lesser known hot jazz songs and artists, then the site red hot jazz is for you. A good overview of New Orleans music can be found here and I recommend for a history of music and artists out of New Orleans. And finally, here is a comprehensive list of popular hot jazz tunes

  • Speaking of hot jazz, do you generally find it more difficult to dance to than classic swing? Part of that is due to the typically higher tempos, but another part is the difference between two-beat and four-beat rhythms. Why then does a "hot jazz" band like the Boilermakers seem so much more danceable than other bands in this genre? You'll find the answer and more in this interview with the bandleader. Also, are you interested in understanding more about the rhythmic differences of swing music genres including hot jazz, classic swing, boogie woogie, jump blues, and groove? If so, then check out this very informative interview with Jonathan Stout complete with actual musical examples on episode 17 of the Hey Mister Jesse podcasts. Also check out Glenn Crytzer's blog about what makes music swing and his blog on the differences between the types of hot jazz

  • I've added some more song lists at the bottom of post #9 in this thread. Many thanks!! to the DJs who publish at least some of their playlists; going that extra mile provides a valuable service to our community and does not go unnoticed, and hopefully consolidating links to these lists in one spot will help ensure that they will be noticed even more!

  • I continue to expand my previous playlists. For example, in the last 2 weeks or so, I've added 40 songs to Swingin' Vocal Jazz, 10 to Fast Swing, 5 to Slow Swing, 15 to A Thirst for Swing Music, 5 to Swingin' Gospel Tunes, and 10 to Risque Suggestive Songs.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #21
  • Originally posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 (3 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:56 pm (4 months ago)


NEW! Vintage Classic Swing - Contains over 300 of what I would describe as core Lindy Hop tunes, the music most closely associated with our dance. These are mostly medium and up-tempo songs from the Swing Era (1930s and 1940s) by bands popular in Lindy community. Artists are presented in no particular order.

NEW! Modern Classic Swing - Classic lindy hop songs by some of the most popular bands of the last decade in the Lindy community.

NEW! Vintage Jump Blues - Contains over 150 songs by over 100 artists from this popular dance genre. The leading artists are presented in the first part of the playlist.

NEW! Modern Jump Blues and Neoswing - Also contains over 150 songs from over 100 artists. Again, the leading artists are presented in the first part of the playlist but I also have provided later on a long list of artists whose lights flickered brightly for the brief period known as neo-swing.

NEW! Vintage Rockabilly - Nothing other than perhaps electro-swing is more fringier to our community than Rockabilly. Is that justified? You decide and here are 130 vintage songs to help you.

NEW! 1950s Rock - I've selected 70 songs within this category. If you feel some songs/artists are missing, they probably have been included in my R&B, Soul, and Motown playlist.

NEW! Post 1950s Rock/Pop - Music stopped "swinging" around the time of the Beatle's arrival on the scene. And it's stayed that way pretty much for the last 1/2 century with the exception being the fleeting appearance of neoswing. Accordingly, it's tough to find more contemporary danceable music - but that hasn't stopped DJs from trying. This, of course, has led to heated discussions in our community about how much, if any, of this music should be played at our dances (i provide links to some of these debates later). Here are over 100 songs, some very danceable while most are kinda sorta danceable, my only criterion for "danceable" being that triple stepping to them feels somewhat tolerable. Did you know the Grateful Dead wrote a never published song with "The Lindy Hop" in the title? Listen to it here!


  • A nice, succint write-up of jump blues history is provided by this wikipedia entry.
  • I mentioned the debates which have raged in our community over the place of various types of music at lindy hop dances (neoswing, motown, bop, RnR, modern pop, etc.). I've added a bunch of links to these discussions in my yehoodi thread titled Useful Links for New Dancers and Rabbits.
  • To discover more big and small bands, I suggest starting by working off the lists at big bands and small bands.
  • Here's an interesting and enlightening quote from DRUM magazine on the transition from swing to RnR:

In the April issue we talked about how a solid, continuous backbeat was one of the key elements of the rock and roll revolution. Another important rhythmic milestone that led to rock’s dominance was the shift from swung to straight eighth-notes. Previous forms of American popular music — including New Orleans jazz, swing, and rhythm and blues — all had their rhythmic foundation in the “swung” eighth-note, a bouncy feel based in triplets. In the mid-’50s, however, certain R&B musicians found that by speeding up the feel of a boogie-woogie shuffle, you could “straighten out” the bounciness and create a relentless, driving “chuck-chuck-chuck” of eighth-notes that is now the recognizable trademark of rock. Interestingly, the move toward straight eighths did not originate with drummers, but with other instrumentalists, notably piano player Little Richard, and guitar players Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Earl Palmer, who played on many important early rock recordings, described it thusly: “The only reason I started playing what they come to call a rock and roll beat came from trying to match Little Richard’s right hand. With Richard pounding the piano with all ten fingers, you couldn’t very well go against it. I did at first — on ‘Tutti Frutti’ you can hear me playing a shuffle. Listening to it now, it’s easy to hear that I should have been playing that rock beat.” Fred Below, who played on most of Chuck Berry’s hits, did just the opposite, playing a shuffle against Berry’s straight-eighth guitar strumming on tunes like “Johnny B. Goode.” The result is an unusual “in-between” feel that has also come to be associated with the 1950s rock sound, and can be heard on the likes of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.” As the 1950s wore on, the straight-eighth feel became increasingly popular with teens, and by the arrival of The Beatles, in 1964, it had become the dominant groove in rock.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #22
  • Originally posted Sunday, December 4, 2011 (3 years ago)
  • Edited on Friday, December 26, 2014 11:57 pm (4 months ago)

My original playlist had a mix of publicly hosted mp3s and youtube videos. Recently effectively disabled its interface to publicly hosted mp3s so many songs on my original playlist no longer played, just the youtube ones. However, all of my grooveshark playlists really performed the same function of those mp3s. Accordingly, I decided to redo the playlist removing the mp3 links and significantly expanding the number of youtube videos. Here are the details:

  • There are well over 400 videos of mostly live performances where you can view the artists in concerts, on TV shows, etc. Other types of videos include brief biographies, snippets of documentaries, interviews, complete concerts, and a few wild cards. So while the focus in grooveshark is popular songs by artist and genre, the focus of this playlist is watching the artists in action and learning a bit about them through interviews and documentaries.
  • The playlist is organized into the following sections: (1) Classic Swing Bands/Musicians (2) Vocal Groups (3) Vocal Duets (4) Hot Jazz (5) Individual Vocals (6) All Kinds of Blues (7) Soul Jazz and Smooth Jazz (8) Gospel (9) Rock/Pop/Motown/Soul (10) Extended Compilations. Section headers are embedded in the playlist for improved readability. Also you can use your browser's "find" function to go directly to a particular section.
  • Some of the bio clips span multiple videos. In these instances, I provide only the first video, figuring if you like the beginning you can readily find the rest on the youtube sidebar.
  • After clicking "Play", the best way to enlarge the video is to click on "youtube" in the lower right corner of the embedded, pop-up youtube video; this will open a new window or tab. If, on the other hand, you click on youtube on the song line item, it will take you to the same place but will reload the entire playlist and you will lose your spot in the playlist.
  • IMPORTANT! There are some videos which show up as "unavailable" when you click on play due to embedding restrictions. If "Youtube" displays on the line of that song, click on that and it will take you directly to that video (not embedded). For those which don't play at all, copy/paste the title into the search field at and go from there.
  • If you are using Firefox, Chrome or Safari, the playlist should load in about 5 seconds. If using Explorer, it may take a while; once loaded, however, most songs typically start playing in under 5 seconds.

So now, take a stroll through this garden of greatness stopping along the way to inhale the sights and sounds, be they the rapturous voices of Ella and Sassy, the showmanship of Cab and Fats, the classic sound of Benny and Basie, or the smooth jazz of Ray and Ramsey. I think there will be something for everyone here. Which one will be your favorite? Perhaps it will be the poignant clip of Pops playing with his very first teacher. Or maybe it will the one from an obscure French film in which Rex Stewart plays in a club frequented by lindy hoppers. Or maybe it will be the video of the first integrated all-women swing band. My favorite is surprisingly easy to choose: it's the 1979 clip of Ella, Sarah, and Pearly Mae reeling off high energy standards - singin, scattin' and reminiscin' all the way. Whatever your preference, if you enjoy these videos 1/10th as much as I did in researching/compiling them, you're in for a real treat!


Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #23
  • Originally posted Monday, June 11, 2012 (3 years ago)
  • Edited on Saturday, December 27, 2014 12:01 am (4 months ago)


NEW! Swing Grab Bag contains over 350 artists who werE not included on any of my previous playlists. There is a limit of one song per artist. You'll be relieved to learn that modern jump swing/neowswing artists are not included in this playlist; those were part of my Modern Jump Blues & NeoSwing playlist. This new playlist consists mostly of classic swing and hot jazz tunes. The songs appear in random order though foreign language tunes are clustered together. I believe just about all of the songs in the playlist to be danceable; for various reasons they just didn't happen to fit into my previous playlists.

I have made changes to almost all of the playlists since my last post but a few have been significantly expanded.

Swingin' Vocal Jazz - Contains 430 distinct titles (title repeated in only two instances), most considered jazz standards. I've put more effort into this playlist than any other by far. Vocal jazz is a broad category but I've tried to provide a efficient vehicle for listeners to learn classic songs and hear them from top vocalists past and present. In this latest pass, I've not only added many more new titles but also made quite a few changes to match up very danceable versions of all of the tunes in the playlist with the various artists. Curiously, the song with the highest tempo (over 200 bpm) would normally be the slowest one, Ole Man River by Aretha Franklin. If you're a DJ, you'll have to shave off the first minute of that song but then you have dancing gold. Also, here is a nice site if you're interested in further exploration of jazz standards.

Swingin' Gospel Tunes - Has tripled from its original size. I've added some gems by well-known vocalists like Alberta Hunter, Etta James, and Peggy Lee. I've also included a number of songs from lesser known singers and groups like Lillian Boute and the Sojourners.

Swingin' Vocal Duets - Has doubled from its original size (166! songs now). These can be hard to find but if you're into duets I think you will enjoy this playlist.

Popular Slow Tunes - Has doubled from its original size. An ill-chosen slow tune can torpedo a set sucking all of the energy out of the room. I've tried to identify about 120 tunes which hopefully will forestall ennui or outright rebellion from the dancers.

Da Blues: Then and Now - Lots of modern artists added at the end of the playlist.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #24
  • Originally posted Saturday, September 15, 2012 (2 years ago)
  • Edited on Saturday, December 27, 2014 12:04 am (4 months ago)


NEW! Rock/Pop Stars Swing - This playlist arose when I was researching the instrumentals playlist just described. I noticed there were quite a number of rock/pop artists singing these songs so I just dropped them in this playlist as I went along. There are a total of about 155 artists with one song per artist (couple of exceptions). You will find legendary names here including the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Temptations, Springsteen, Sting, Supremes, James Taylor, U2, Van Halen, and many more. There are no Christmas tunes or duets where the artist is paired with a jazz singer (vocal duets can be found in my playlist Swingin' Vocal Duets). Many of the songs are danceable while others have been included more as curiosities. Over 100 of the artists are singing songs which fall in the jazz genre but I did include some popular 50s RnR tunes since they have a swing rhythm and get played at lindy hop dances (e.g., Shake Rattle & Roll; Johnny B. Goode). In every case, they are performed by artists from the late 60s to the present.

NEW! Instrumentals of Jazz Vocal Standards - This may be viewed as a companion to Smooth Swing by Top Vocalists which is comprised mostly of jazz vocal standards performed by top singers of today and yesteryear. A jazz vocal standard may be defined as one which has stood the test of time and continues to be covered by artists. They are songs which are popular outside of Lindy Hop dancing. So why a playlist with instrumental versions? While I and most dancers would probably prefer to dance to Ella and Sinatra, there may be a place also for instrumental versions of songs with proven melodies (e.g., stronger rhythm section). It's difficult to find instrumentals because most bands perform these songs with vocalists. And when you do find an instrumental version it often has long solos or sections which are not conducive for swing dancing. Still, I've managed to find about 200 of them in the classic swing genre. The most bountiful source is hot jazz; those versions, however, are not included here but you may find them in abundance in my Hot Jazz playlist discussed above. Similarly, soul jazz versions of these classics may be found in my Groove & Funk playlist.


  • Regarding the pop/rock artists playlist, DJ Nathan Malone has created a similar themed playlist (100 songs) in spotify but there is not much overlap with mine; only about 25 of the 150+ artists in my playlist also appear in his. So you will find many different artists in each of our playlists. Here is the link to check out Nathan's playlist.

  • My new playlists sort of revolve around the jazz vocal standards be they sung by pop/rock stars or instrumental versions thereof. Dave Jacoby, the house DJ at NYC's Frim Fram dance a few years ago, once wrote on Yehoodi that the DJ who always filled the floor and about whom he received the most positive feedback was Larry Kang. Larry's secret? He played a higher percentage of vocal standards than most other DJs. Here's a question: What type of song do you think would qualify as the least objectionable to the greatest number of dancers? (reread that) My opinion is that it is a jazz vocal standard, medium tempo, medium to high energy, 2-4 minutes, contains instrumental stretch. In reviewing on-line playlists of 50+ DJs, I rate the overall song choices very high but I was surprised by the relatively low percentage of songs which fit this profile. Note I am not talking about a song like Sinatra/Basie Fly Me to the Moon (too slow, smooth). A good example of what I mean is a standard I've never once heard played in 8 years of dancing and which did not appear on any of the on-line playlists: Ella's Almost Like Being in Love. If you are an aspiring DJ, I suggest you review the songs at (not just vocal) and my playlist Smooth Swing by Top Vocalists which contains mostly vocal standards. I believe there are many untapped songs out there waiting to be played. But, of course, I cannot be sure of this which brings me to my next comment and challenge.

  • Youtube, grooveshark, spotify all provide free access to full-length songs. Wouldn't it be nice if someone built a simple application which would allow people to rate songs in terms of danceability and application would then summarize the results by song/sub-genre/bpm etc? Or, alternatively, two songs could be presented and people choose the one which they prefer for dancing. Format could be similar to Bug's QOTD in that a new song(s) could be teed up every 2 or 3 days or so. Grooveshark allows song embedding so users could just click on title in application to hear the song. The technology is there to to do this - any enterprising individual out there want to create it?

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #25
  • Originally posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 (2 years ago)
  • Edited on Saturday, December 27, 2014 12:06 am (4 months ago)


NEW! High on Swing - Tribute to the recent ballot initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington. If you're apolitical and not sure what I'm talking about, would it help if I mentioned my second choice for a name was Smokin' Swing Songs? Still confused? What if I told you the last song in the playlist is Slim and Slam's Potato Chips?

NEW! Hand Clappin' Swing- I think you will really applaud my effort in creating this playlist. Hand clapping can add energy and variety to a tune in addition to reinforcing the backbeat. Best sources are jump blues, gospel and live performances.

And finally, tis not the season to forget my Swingin' Yuletide Tunes playlist to which I've added a number of new songs. Newly included is my all-time favorite yuletide tune name: Santa Lost a Ho!

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #26
  • Originally posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 (2 years ago)
  • Edited on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 2:05 pm (3 months ago)


NEW! 250 Lindy Hop Faves - My playlists have been focused primarily on organizing music with a swing rhythm into genres and then drilling deep in a given genre. Time to take a step back and create a mix of favorites across genres. I had to establish some parameters at the outset or the selection process could have gotten out-of-hand in a hurry: (1) total capped at 250 songs (2) mix of vintage and modern artists (3) one song per artist (band may appear more than once if backing vocalist) (4) song title never repeated. This is intended as a good intro playlist for a newbie to put on shuffle. Once I had selected the 250 songs, I initially placed them in random order mixing genres. I then wondered if i could arrange all of the song titles in a certain order to tell a story like a couple of my other playlists. I was surprised I was able to do this. It's the tale of a Lindy Hop addict named John who loves to dance, eat, and party. He takes time off to travel the world dancing along the way, leaving behind his beloved Sue who does not share his interest in Lindy Hop. Upon his return, he learns Sue has been unfaithful but she had learned that he, in turn, had been unfaithful with a gal named Caldonia at the Saturday night fish fry right before he left on his trip. Well, Sue and John split up and he becomes depressed, starts abusing drugs with a guy named Mack, and falls on the wrong side of the law to support his drug and Lindy habits. After a brief stint in jail, he rights his life and meets Georgia Brown with whom he happily lives out his days. Just read the song titles in order to fill in all the details. Trivia: though an artist is never repeated, the playlist contains 5 guys named Ray - can you think of all of them before viewing the playlist? (hint: one of them is not Sugar Ray's Flying Fortress)

Here are some changes to existing playlists:

Rock/Pop Stars Swing - I've added 90 rock/pop stars bringing the total to over 250 artists. Some of the 90 stars making their debut here are Adele, Tom Petty, Celine Dion, Chicago, Dusty Springfield, Dixie Chicks, Lauryn Hill and Britney Spears. I've placed the ballads (not danceable at all but included as curiosities) at the end of the playlist.

Swingin' Gospel Tunes - I've added about 35 new songs played by artists ranging from hard core gospel singers/groups like Dorothy Coates, Golden Gate Quartet, Vickie Winans to one-off tunes from pop stars Whitney Houston and LeAnn Rimes. Sadly, the playlist suffered a loss when Grooveshark purged all Lillian Boutte songs from the system. Hopefully many of you got a chance to listen to some of her songs but, if not, I highly recommend checking out her album Gospel Book on other sites. Also her On Revival Day (not on that album) is quite good, providing a faster tempo and higher energy compared with the very popular Lavern Baker version.

Swingin' Vocal Jazz - 125+bpm - The focus of this playlist remains presenting mostly standards sung by leading vintage and modern vocalists. Many new artists and song versions have been added to Grooveshark in the last year so I decided in this latest pass to undertake the ambitious task of identifying the best danceable version available in Grooveshark of the various standards. Primary evaluation criteria were: rhythmic clarity, energy, tempo, instrumental portion. If I deemed alternative versions of a song comparable, I included multiple versions but that only happened in about 10 instances out of roughly 480 distinct titles.

Slow Swing 125- bpm - Formerly Popular Slow Tunes 120- bpm. More than doubled the # of tunes which now stands at 285 (only about 10 of the new songs were transferred from Swingin' Vocal Jazz). Song choices at the tempo extremes can make or break a DJed set. This playlist should be an excellent resource for DJs looking for ideas for slower tunes. Note that really slow songs more typical of a Blues dance (e.g., Witherspoon's When the Lights Go Out) are not part of this playlist.

Swingin' Vocal Duets - I admit I'm a pushover for vocal duets and if you feel the same way you'll be happy to hear I've added 50 new tunes to bring the total to 230. I've always been kind of meh about Bing Crosby as a vocalist (very smooth but uninteresting voice). But that type of voice lends itself well to duets, able to fit with most other singers with more distinctive tones. I especially like his songs with Louis Armstrong which I've expanded and which appear near the top of the playlist.

Swing Grab Bag - Remember this playlist contains only one song per artist and artists who either did not appear in any other playlist or who only appeared in a very specialized one (e.g., yuletide tunes, boogie woogie). I've added over 200 artists bringing the total to 570. From here on I'll be adding artists to the end of the playlist to make it easier for those who want to follow it.


Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #27
  • Originally posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 (2 years ago)
  • Edited on Thursday, March 5, 2015 2:41 am (2 months ago)


NEW! On the Sunny Side of the Street - In this thread, I provided some evidence that this tune may be played by more DJs than any other, in effect becoming their go-to slow song. It's got a cheerful, bouncy feel which reflects the spirit of Lindy Hop and there's almost an unlimited number of versions from which a DJ may choose. My playlist contains about 85 of them; if you like the song now, you won't after listening to it 85 times. I generally don't like multiple version playlists because they require so little effort to construct and I don't feel like I'm adding any value. Still, I figured if any song deserved one it's this tune. This playlist might help newer DJs efficiently review various versions and select the one(s) to include in their book.

NEW! Swingin' Beatles - UPDATE: This playlist has been deleted primarily because a new one has been created titled Swing Covers of Rock/Pop Tunes. The best covers have been moved to this playlist but I have left some links below related to Beatles originals and covers by the Beatles themselves.

(1) Beatles Originals - My choices for the most "danceable" Beatles tunes. The songs She's a Woman, Honey Pie, One After 909 and Another Girl are probably the closest to a swing rhythm but I suspect energetic well-known tunes like Can't Buy Me Love and I Saw Her Standing There would be more popular at a dance. Beatles' songs are closely protected so they are not likely to appear or stay on Grooveshark. However, here are youtube links to a few of them:
She's A Woman
One After 909
Another Girl
Love Me Do
Got Get You Into My Life
Honey Pie

(2) Beatles Covers of Swing and Early RnR/RnB - Most of these Beatle performances (under name of Beat Brothers) were recorded in their very early pre-fame days as the backing band for a singer named Tony Sheridan. This link should take you to most of these.

NEW! Beginner Practice - Contains 100 songs targeted at dancers in roughly their first 4 months. What differentiates my playlist from other similar-themed ones is genre coverage; I place heavier weight on including songs with swing rhythms spanning almost all genres. Playlist tunes are grouped by genre and the genres are ordered as follows (# of songs in genre in parentheses): classic swing(23), blues(18), hot jazz(13), gospel(4), vocal jazz(22), boogie woogie(4), soul jazz(3), western(2), soul/motown(2), rock/pop(7), pop swing(2). Choosing practice songs for beginners is not so simple an exercise since there are many desirable characteristics for a novice song and selecting tunes will typically involve making tradeoffs. At the end of the first day of the beginner class, I believe every instructor should provide their students with a link to a streaming playlist (Spotify, Grooveshark) with songs they can use to practice at home. Here's my list of 10 desirable characteristics for a group of beginner practice songs which guided the creation of the playlist:

(1) Prominent Rhythm - Easy to hear, unobscured by melodic elements, be they voices or instruments. For example, listen to the clarity of the rhythm guitar in this version of My Blue Heaven by Artie Shaw.

(2) Steady Rhythm - Minimal stops and tempo changes. Notice how steady and consistent the rhythm is throughout the Lindy standard Massachusetts by Maxine Sullivan. A great example of an "in-the-pocket" song.

(3) Strong Backbeat/Hand Clapping - Of the rhythmic elements (solid 4 beat, swung eighths, strong backbeat), I believe a strong backbeat is the most important for a beginner. Somewhat surprising, this element never seems to be talked about specifically in discussion threads. Much of a beginner's first 3 months is spent trying to become comfortable doing triple steps. A strong backbeat serves as a kind of rhythmic guidepost or marker for novices - they know the last step of the triple should happen on the backbeat. For an extreme example of a strong backbeat, check out Madison Time. Blues and 50s RnR generally have stronger backbeats than classic swing, and I think beginners are often more drawn to jump blues/50s RnR/Neoswing because of the energy, simplicity, and strong backbeat. Hand clapping reinforces the backbeat. C Jam Blues by LCJO features clapping which continues through the 3 or so breaks in the song allowing the beginner to just keep dancing through the stops.

(4) Mostly 125-155bpm - Not too fast or too slow. In particular, I'd be very wary of songs under 120bpm as imo they are more often counterproductive to the learning process. The difference in feel between 115bpm and 135bpm is huge compared to the difference between 135bpm and 155bpm.

(5) Mostly 2-3.5min Song Length - Leaders have all been there where even 3 minutes seems like an eternity when you only know a few moves. Song length is less important for tunes to be used for at-home practice since the beginner does not have continue to the very end of the song.

The preceding 5 items focus on technical aspects of a song. We want beginners to continue with Lindy Hop so selecting songs which facilitates their technical progress is critical. However, another key consideration is we want beginners to want to learn how to dance to a particular song. In other words, they have to like the music! In that vein, here are 5 more desirable characteristics:

(6) Many Popular/Familiar Tunes - Django's Artillerie Lourde and Will Bradley's Celery Stalks at Midnight provide a steady clear uncluttered rhythm but I'm not sure those tunes would resonate with beginners. If so, that might suggest sacrificing some rhythmic clarity for a more interesting or proven melody. For example, I would prefer the standards Hawkins' Tuxedo Junction and Shaw's My Blue Heaven since they are very popular outside of swing dancing, increasing the odds the newbies will like the songs. In addition, the beginner may already be familiar with these melodies making learning that much easier.

(7) Mostly Vocals - For whatever reason people in western cultures seem to respond more to songs with vocals. My advice would be definitely to include instrumentals since they can often be easier for a beginner to lock into the rhythm but choose them carefully as noted above. With respect to vocals, at the very least they have to be straightforward and not obscure the rhythm; best case is they reinforce the underlying beat. Blues is a genre where this is typically the case.

(8) Mostly Energetic Tunes - Most beginners choose swing dancing because of the energy of the music so, literally and figuratively, let the good times roll. Make sure you include beginner friendly versions of many favorites such as: Let the Good Times Roll; Good Rockin' Tonight; Shake That Thing; Opus One; Alright OK You Win.

(9) Some Tunes with Interesting Lyrics - We want to hook the newbies and some ways to accomplish that are to play energetic songs, catchy melodies, well-known songs, well-known artists. Not to be overlooked are songs with "interesting" lyrics and we as a community are blessed in this regard. Just a few examples: Potato Chips, Don't Falter at the Altar, and Just a Gigolo. My guess is the average newbie will never have heard most of these tunes.

(10) Variety - Human beings crave variety. I mentioned selecting mostly vocals but also the need to include well-chosen instrumentals. A mix of popular vintage and modern artists is desirable. I recommended choosing mostly energetic tunes, but also I suggest including some smoother favorites like Darin's Beyond the Sea. Include many familiar tunes but also some good ones which probably will be new to them. Most important of all is to include songs across genres: classic swing, blues, vocal jazz, hot jazz, soul jazz, boogie woogie, 50s RnR and so on (proportional to generally what is played at social dances). I remember on the last day of my very first Lindy class the instructor announced that you could dance lindy hop to all kinds of music and proceeded to have us dance to Aretha's Chain of Fools. I also remember thinking at the time that dancing to that song didn't feel right and, of course, it didn't because that tune doesn't have a swing rhythm. I did, however, like the instructor's idea, just not his song choice. You could emphasize swing rhythm by comparing Sinatra's swing version of You are the Sunshine of My Life to the wonderful original. And then proceed to explain that many different types of music have a swing rhythm.


  • If 85 versions of On the Sunny Side of the Street are not enough for you, then check out these versions at other sites (not available on grooveshark): Artie Shaw, Chick Webb, Louis Jordan, Harry James, Teddy Wilson, Don Redman, Illinois Jacquet, Les Brown, Bert Kaempfert, Slam Stewart, Jimmy Rushing, Glenn Miller, Casa Loma, Roy Eldridge, Nat King Cole, Nellie Lutcher, Jo Jones, Jonathan Stout, Lavay Smith, Wycliffe Gordon, Kenny Davern, Randy Sandke, Pete Johnson, Ivie Anderson, The Coasters, Clarence Williams, The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, Bob Scobey's Frisco Band, Yoko Noge, Tom Cunningham, Claude Hopkins

  • Who really composed Sunny Side of the Street? The site discusses this:

    Jimmy McHugh is the published composer of “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” but there is at least a little doubt as to the song’s pre-publication origin. There are rumors that “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “If I Had You” were originally Fats Waller compositions, ones he had composed and then sold the rights to for quick cash. Indirectly supporting the rumors is a document on the Rutgers-Newark Online website regarding their Dana Library Institute of Jazz Studies collection of Waller memorabilia: [The collection] includes several drafts of music in Waller’s hand. These are basically early attempts (first versions or rough sketches) of songs Waller was writing, made in pencil on music manuscript paper ...the collection includes some instrumental parts in Waller’s handwriting (for “Walkin’ The Floor” and “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around”). Though the 1935 copyright of “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around” attributes the music to Jimmy McHugh, the fact that these parts are in Waller’s handwriting argues strongly that he, not McHugh, was the original composer of the song.

My take on the controversy, on the one hand, is that it's sad if Waller actually wrote it but doesn't receive the credit. On the other hand, I'm glad in a way it all worked out the way it did because Dorothy Fields' exquisite lyrics are central to the quality and enjoyment of the song.

  • Here is a thread where DJs discuss their favorite versions of the song.

  • It's important to note that many teachers will take issue with some of my desirable characteristics for a set of beginner practice songs. Some will favor instrumentals over vocals. Some will lean more towards songs under 125bpm. Some will avoid 50s Rnr/RnB, western swing, and other less mainstream genres. Here are links to 3 threads discussing beginner music:
    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3

  • You will find song recommendations in the above threads. Here are some links to other beginner playlists:
    Henrik Eriksson
    Solomon Douglas
    Anton Cervin
    Bees Knees

  • If pressed to choose the best instrumental and best vocal for beginners, I would select C Jam Blues (LCJO) and Shake, Rattle, and Roll (Cooke). In terms of genre, I would select vintage jump blues - the top dance songs have energy, the strong backbeat, straightforward vocals and are often in the 125-155bpm range in contrast to classic swing where the top tunes are usually over 150 bpm. Top vocal jazz songs are also in the 120-155bpm range but don't have the energy and rhythmic clarity of vintage jump blues. This, of course, is just my opinion. Most of us are too far removed from our beginner days and have developed biases which make it difficult to really know the best songs. Why not something a bit less subjective? Previously, I mentioned that, at the end of the first day of the beginner class, every instructor should provide their students with a link to a streaming playlist (Spotify or Grooveshark) with songs they can use to practice at home. Why not also hand out a sheet with the song titles included on that playlist and ask students to rate the songs in terms of dancing enjoyability (1-10)? And then how about sharing the results with the larger community (song title and artist/avg rating/# responses), maybe posting results on one of those threads above? My prediction for the highest rated song: Baby Workout by Jackie Wilson!

  • Regarding Beatles, my reaction to Ella and Basie covers of the Beatles is the same as mine to McCartney's recent album of vocal jazz: MEH. I suppose a part of me psychologically just will never completely embrace the finest artists in a genre crossing over. Crossover Bonus Trivia: McCartney once called Johnny Mercer the greatest lyricist ever and approached him during the Wings days to write lyrics for some of his songs but Mercer was in poor health at the time and declined. Back to the subject of swing covers, I tend to like soul jazz versions such as Ramsey Lewis' Day Tripper as well as Turrentine's and Shirley Scott's versions of Can't Buy Me Love and selected instrumentals like Pizzarelli's Eleanor Rigby.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #28
  • Originally posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 (1 year ago)
  • Edited on Saturday, December 27, 2014 12:23 am (4 months ago)


One new playlist (hopefully fun for all) plus a series of smaller ones for newcomers. Remember in the first post of this thread you will find a categorized list of all 54 playlists along with individual links to each.

NEW! Swingin' Halloween Treat - Tricky little devil to create. Include songs on candy, sweets, sugar? How about tracks like Sinatra's Witchcraft where really only the title is in the spirit of the holiday? What about instrumentals like Basie's Dance of the Gremlins which likewise beyond the title don't really fit the mood? How many novelty tunes? The guidelines I followed were: (1) A hodgepodge of horror and hijinks, a melange of mayhem and mirth (2) Many danceable tracks but also a hearty helping of novelty songs (3) Sour on sweets - no songs about candy (4) Relevantly titled instrumentals OK if good dance tunes even if they don't support the eerie mood (5) Avoid vocal standards not really in spirit of holiday (e.g., Old Devil Moon, Between Devil and Deep Blue Sea) (6) Pick many tunes or versions of tunes with which most listeners will not likely be familiar (7) Cap at 100 tunes

Like a few of my other playlists, the song titles have been arranged to tell a story: Jack, an avid lindy hopper, is bewitched by his new girlfriend Evelyn who happens to be a member of a satanic cult. The couple planned to attend the Monster Mash Movie Costume Ball with Evelyn attired as a svelte black cat and Jack, at her behest, as the Devil. On his way to pick her up, while walking past a cemetery, Jack hear's an eerie whistling and an even eerier voice warning him not to go dancing. The evening became even stranger when Evelyn informed him that her upstairs neighbor who fancies himself a real ghost would be accompanying them to the dance. They had a fun time there encountering the usual suspects like Dracula but also a variety of other weird characters I'll leave for you to discover. In fact, it went so well that Evelyn invited Jack back to her apartment at Peyton Place for the first time. After a brief spat when Jack suggested they watch The Exorcist, the two canoodled on the couch while viewing the film Rosemary's Baby. It was late so Evelyn suggested Jack stay over and showed him to the guest room. The place turned out to be creepier than the gropiest lindy lead. Jack woke up from a nightmare in the middle of the night and rushed to Evelyn's room where the door was cracked open. He observed her for awhile engaged in some kind of bizarre ritual and became convinced that she was an actual witch involved in placing a hex on him. He confronted her, they scuffled and she died when a cauldron of boiling scalding whatever accidentally spilled on her. Jack panicked, ran the hell out of the hell house, and proceeded to walk at a brisk pace to find the nearest police station. The Devil was so distraught upon hearing the news he was brought to tears (Evelyn being a favorite of his). He believed she was murdered, followed Jack (Devil following guy costumed as the devil) and exacted his due but was not completely heartless. He acknowledged he may have acted a tad too impulsively and agreed to investigate Jack's claim it was an accident so long as Jack kept a low profile in the meantime including no dancing at the cemetery. But Jack violated the agreement when he danced with another passing soul - a lindy follower practicing EOC and responsible for a horrible aerial-gone-bad tragedy. A raven tattled on the two and the Devil could not allow such a flagrant violation of their agreement. Hell turned out to be not so bad after all - actually kind of a hoppin' place (hot jazz, hot women..). Satan then leaves for a vacation at the close of his busy season to recover from all the stress including the untimely demise of promising young Evelyn, now bored to tears studying the harp in heaven. Intrigued by lindy hop's grip - something for which Jack was willing to risk hell - Satan decides to take a few dance lessons during his holiday.

NEW! TOP 15 Songs by Genre - My very first playlist was targeted at new dancers. Since then, the evolution's been to a music reference library of songs with a swing rhythm organized primarily by genre. In the process, they probably have become less accessible overall to newcomers. The recent additions of Beginner Practice and 250 Lindy Hop Faves were designed to address that issue and this new series of playlists continues in that vein. For each genre, I've selected 15 top songs listed in no particular order; they are not counted down or up or anything like that. One qualifier: only one song per artist per playlist (except duets where one song per couple). The idea was to present 15 popular dance songs for each genre giving newcomers immediate exposure to some great dance tunes while at the same time making them aware of the breadth of available danceable swing music.

TOP 15 Vintage Classic Swing
TOP 15 Modern Classic Swing
TOP 15 Vintage Hot Jazz
TOP 15 Modern Hot Jazz
TOP 15 Vintage Vocal Jazz
TOP 15 Modern Vocal Jazz
TOP 15 Vocal Duets
TOP 15 Vintage Jump Blues
TOP 15 Modern Jump Blues
TOP 15 Traditional Blues
TOP 15 R&B,Soul,Motown
TOP 15 Gospel
TOP 15 Groove
TOP 15 Boogie Woogie
TOP 15 Western Swing
TOP 15 1950s Rock
TOP 15 Post 1950s Rock
TOP 15 Yuletide


  • This swingdjs thread contains lots of Halloween song suggestions.
  • Poster named Platypus has created a very large monster Spotify playlist of Halloween tunes.
  • Morgan Day offers many Halloween song suggestions in this Reddit thread.
  • I didn't want to create a Halloween playlist unless I could provide some titles not found in all of the above. I counted over 40 new distinct titles in my playlist not including many different versions of songs already mentioned.
  • Still hungry for more Halloween tunes? BONUS! I've got a few more goodies for your treat bag. These are songs I considered but rejected for various reasons. I've put the ones which I believe are not found in any of the above lists in a profile area called the collection but they will only stay there temporarily (about a couple of months).
  • My playlists tailored for new dancers are: Beginner Practice, 250 Lindy Hop Faves, and the series of top 15 songs by genre. Newcomers may then explore a certain genre in greater depth by selecting the appropriate, more comprehensive playlist.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #29
  • Originally posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 (1 year ago)
  • Edited on Saturday, December 27, 2014 12:11 am (4 months ago)


Significant expansion and overhaul of my playlist Hot Jazz: Then and Now (125+ bpm). Given the nature and scope of the changes coupled with the popularity of hot jazz, I felt this deserved its own post. Why the overhaul? Unhappy with average tempo and overall song choice. Originally I made the decision to focus on "native" hot jazz tunes (e.g., Dippermouth Blues, Tiger Rag, Wolverine Blues etc). These songs were often too fast and too Charlestony so I ended up removing many of them in a second try. Recently, I reviewed the playlist and found a huge % of tunes were over 185+bpm. To a certain extent this was expected since higher average bpm is associated with the genre. Still it bothered me because you start to lose social dancers once you go above 180bpm. Having attended two dances where the Gordon Webster band played, I believe one of the reasons for its huge popularity is that it's a hybrid band which achieves excellent energy without upping the tempos (e.g., Honeysuckle Rose, Mr Schoen both around 150bpm). Regarding overall song choice, and on a more subjective note, I just found I wasn't inspired to dance to many of the mid-tempo native hot jazz tunes like Wolverine Blues.

So I decided to change the playlist as follows: (1) Focus almost exclusively on mid-tempo tunes (2) Only include songs to which I wouldn't mind dancing. Result: Of the roughly 332 tunes now in the playlist (up from 260),well over 300 fall in the 125-185bpm range and all of those are imo decent to excellent social dance tunes. Check out the new and improved playlist.


  • I've been making additions/changes over the past 4 months so the modifications may not be so visible if you've accessed the playlist recently. Note though I added a raft of new songs today just before making this post.
  • I've added a number of tunes under 125bpm to the hot jazz section of my Slow Swing playlist.
  • I've added some tunes over 195+ bpm to the hot jazz section of my Fast Swing playlist. The faster songs included in Hot Jazz playlist are either popular ones in the Lindy community or relatively unknown ones I just happen to like (e.g., Turk Murphy's Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight and Lars Estrand's Helsinki Jump).
  • More hot jazz resources can be found in previous posts. Full-length plays of many contemporary bands can only be heard through youtube, their websites, bandcamp, myspace, reverbnation. Today I updated Post #9 of this thread with many many new links to these sources. Youtube videos may be found in the hot jazz section of my [ modern lindy playlist[(
  • My Swingin' Vocal jazz playlist consumed the greatest amount of my time to create/revise until I felt it added real value. Hot Jazz came in second in this regard. Next month I plan to introduce a large new playlist focused on vintage classic swing which placed 3rd.

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

  • Joined 8/30/10
  • 199
  • Post #30
  • Originally posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013 (1 year ago)
  • Edited on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:47 am (1 year ago)

I had hoped to introduce a new large classic swing playlist this month but haven't had the time to finish it. It should be ready in January or early February. I still, however, must post my obligatory annual reminder that 'tis the season to remember my Swingin' Yuletide Tunes. I've both trimmed and expanded it to over 260 songs! The trimming involved dropping songs which imo are not all that danceable (e.g., Django's Christmas Swing and Hampton's Gin for X-mas) and also some songs which were too cheesy even by already low holiday standards. I added about 40 tracks (e.g., March of the Toys by The Big 18, Sleigh Ride in July by Benny Carter, and Winter Wonderland by Red Garland). Be sure to check out the 1936 song Christmas Balls by stride pianist Ben Light. The playlist is organized by genre in this order: classic swing, hot jazz, groove, vocal jazz, jump blues/neoswing, rock, blues, ballads. If you're new to swing dancing, I've given 15 of my holiday favorites in the playlist Top 15 Yuletide.

I usually provide more in a post than relatively minor additions to a playlist so I decided to give my music-related holiday/new year wish list. Warning: two or three of them might be a mite controversial, dare I say almost Scrooge-like.

(1) Mister Jesse Podcast - This top notch podcast will be celebrating its 100th show in early 2014. Here's hoping for a 200th show anniversary!

(2) Song Titles on YouTube Videos - How many times have you noticed a comment below a youtube dance video asking for the name of the song? Haven't we all experienced this frustrating feeling of wanting to know the name of a song in a dance video? Yeah, yeah - use Shazam or play the parlor game. But most people won't go to the effort of learning a new tool or creating an account. Kudos to Natasha & Patrick who it appears do try to include the song name if they know it when they upload their videos. I'm wondering if dance competitions could request the song names/artists from competitors on the form they fill out. Also the event DJs could provide their song lists. Maybe then a volunteer could enter the titles/artists once the videos have been uploaded. If they knew the song/artist right away, I wonder how many people (non-dancers also) might download the song immediately or buy a CD?

(3) New Kind of Facebook Page - I know there are people in our community who breathe, eat, sleep jazz and swing music. Why don't a group of them set up a Facebook page and post anything related to music which strikes their fancy. That might be a humorous anecdote about some artist. Or a quote. Or something about a particular song. Or unusual trivia. Or a photo. Something along the lines of Jazz Rhythm Inspirations but focused on music. It won't receive the traffic and up votes as a post on nerds but the people who will like it will really appreciate it (also probably would be of interest to many non-dancers as well).

(4) More DJs Using Spotify - I'm talking about actually DJing from Spotify not just using it as a discovery tool unless there is some technical impediment (e.g., sound quality much worse). The advantages are obvious but there's one benefit to the community which may be not so apparent. DJing is a privilege and everyone who steps into the booth should have spent a good chunk of money in acquiring music. The vintage music has already recouped its cost and, honestly, who really cares if some investor or Basie's great grandchildren receive less money through Spotify plays than CD purchases or mp3 downloads? DJs could then spend more of their money on the CDs/downloads of modern and contemporary artists especially those close to our community. Note: I'm assuming organizers check a DJs collection before letting that person in the booth. It would be a terrible development if people could just DJ using Spotify and not have to cross a threshold in terms of CDs/mp3s owned.

(5) Fewer Gypsy Jazz Bands, More Classic Swing - I get that hot jazz is all the rage at moment. I get that gypsy jazz bands are very economical in an era where it's tough to breakeven. But this is a wish list so I'm gonna hope that a group like the recently disbanded Hal's Angels pops up and is popular. I've got the Weary Blues - I'm just tired of hearing umpteen 190+bpm versions of I've Found a New Baby. ::end rant::

(6) Rotate House DJs - Instead of having to listen to the selections of the same person who's been DJing for years at a site, why not have, for example, 3 house DJs who rotate quarterly? Inject some new blood and variety into some scenes.

(7) Track Rating Facebook Page - There really isn't a reliable feedback mechanism for DJs unless most dancers are standing around instead of dancing. Indeed it's possible to draw the wrong conclusion from some forms of feedback. If you play three 200+bpm songs in a row, there's a vocal minority who will tell the organizer how great you are while the majority of dancers will just remain quietly unhappy. Maybe someone would consider setting up a Facebook page which would use one of the free Facebook polling applications to have users rate the danceability of tracks. You could include a second poll for a given song which asks those who rated it below a certain threshold the reason for the low rating (e.g., too fast, too slow, don't like genre, blah melody, etc.). And you could even include a meta poll asking users what they think the average rating will be for a given song. I hear ya - this could be just as flawed as other feedback mechanism:. You may not be taking a representative sample of dancers. People need to actually get up and dance to a song before rating it. Some idiot will set up 10+ facebook accounts and vote multiple times. All valid, but it would still be interesting don't you think?


Don't tell me you want more tunes? OK but fair warning: prolonged listening to holiday tunes may be hazardous to your mental bealth and emotional well-being.

Albums by Contemporary Artists
- Swingin' the Season by Boilermaker Jazz Band
- A Little Love This Christmas by Glenn Crytzer
- Santaphone by Southside Aces
- Christmas Stomp by Grand Street Stompers

Other Playlists
- Spotify Playlist From Mister Jesse Podcast
- Collaborative Spotify Playlist

Is that all there is, is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing (from Peggy Lee song)

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