Post 9 Crystal 1930s

Posted: May 14, 2012 by crystalspencer30 in Uncategorized

Swing Era

Swing bands started to play a large part in people’s lives in the late 30’s as people tried to shake off the depression by dancing.      

The many avenues of black, white, Latin, American, and European music influences merged together when Swing arrived, with  often unheard of musical arrangements that were emphasized toward a more polished song with a bounce.

Swing rescued both jazz and the record industry. In 1932, only 10 million records were sold. Record sales soared to 50 million by 1939. People of all races listened to swing on jukeboxes and radios, and Hollywood used its style as theatrical theme music.

Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and band leader ; widely known as the “King of Swing”


Goodman and his band began a three-week engagement  in 1935 at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. Goodman started the evening with stock arrangements, but after an indifferent response, began the second set with the arrangements by Fletcher Henderson and Spud Murphy. The crowd broke into cheers and applause. News reports spread word of the enthusiastic dancing and exciting new music that was happening. Over the course of the engagement, the “Jitterbug” began to appear as a new dance craze, and radio broadcasts carried the band’s performances across the nation.

For the first time radios and record players were widely available in stores. This encouraged the popularity and growth of jazz music.  The 1930s produced  new style of jazz, “big band swing,” emerged. This became the most popular music of the 1930s and 40s. Because of its highly energetic beat, swing music brought people to the dance floor every night.

                   ‘Swing’ 1938 Musical poster.

The musical ‘Anything Goes’ opened in 1934 on Broadway and ran for 420 performances.

Its worthy to mention at this point that in 1939 a freelance employee of Columbia records named Alex Steinweiss invented the first record cover art, before this records were sold in brown paper bags.

Paul Whiteman was a Jazz violinist of the 1920s & ’30s whose star-studded outifts set the tone for the onrushing big band era. Whiteman was in the local symphony he also was interested in the fresh sound of dance rhythms. They used original scores rather than stock arrangements.


Whatever its aesthetic merits, swing music characterized the popular culture of the 1930s. The music played constantly on records and on radio, and reached virtually every city in America through swing bands’ incessant touring. Historians have seen in “the swing era” not just music but culture, a distinctive, generational culture of swing jazz with its own dances, clothing styles, and  slang.


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