The Peak and Decline of Swing

The swing movement has seen several peaks through history. It was first introduced in the late 20s as another form of jazz. While jazz has a very distinctive style, swing incorporated more brass and heavy rhythm sections, usually manned by larger numbers of band members than traditional jazz. Artists such as Benny Goodman and Count Basie dominated the scene and brought swing music to the masses by the mid 40s.

By 1935 swing had become a worldwide phenomenon. Popular musicians were popping up in parts of Europe. British and American swing had dominated the charts, but German swing was also making a name. Unfortunately, the war aided in the decline of the music. Nazi officials created a campaign trying to squash the appeal of western music, going as far to create their own propaganda albums that degraded leaders of the western world and dropping them in by parachute.

In the late 40s pop music began to gain popularity and swingers had to move to a new form of music to keep enjoying the clubs. It was expensive to employ large bands to create the big band sound, and pop music required fewer players. A recording ban from 42-48 also hurt the industry.

Even though swing music did start to decline, crooners started to make a way in to the scene. Musicians like Frank Sinatra kept some swing elements in their style as they rose to fame.

The 90s brought on a rise in the genre. Music from 40 years before started to make a comeback as artists started to incorporate the older styles in their new music. Groups like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Cherry Poppin Daddies brought a new light to the old genre. By the end of the decade swing music once again dominated the charts, and swing clubs started to pop up all over the country.

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