The Best Music for Lindy Hop: Build your Lindy Hop Music Library!

Let’s swing it! Whether you’re looking for beginner Lindy Hop music, you’re an experienced dancer, or you’re an aspiring Lindy Hop DJ, we’ve got some music tips for you to start building your music library. 

This is a pretty gigantic topic with so much incredible music out there. There’s great Lindy Hop music from the swing era, the post-swing era of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and so much excellent contemporary swinging jazz too. This post will be a work in progress and we hope you find it a helpful jumping off point for you to start to build your music collection 

But before we dive right in, we just want to remind everyone that the foundations of Lindy Hop and the Jazz music it was created to, are important parts of Black American History. It’s thanks to Black musicians and Black dancers that we have such a beautiful dance to explore and enjoy today. Learning about the History of Lindy Hop, as well as today’s Black experience in Lindy Hop, should absolutely be part of your Lindy Hop learning and personal development. Without this cultural information, you’re missing a huge part of the experience! There is plenty of research you can (and are encouraged to) do on your own, and if you need a starting point, please check out our History & Resources page. It’s a ‘work in progress’ as it’s something we’re actively working on ourselves.

Lindy Hop Music: Start with the Classics

The classics are a classic for a reason! There are so many sensational jazz musicians from the 1930s and ‘40s that you absolutely need to explore as part of your Lindy Hop music education. If you’re discovering some of these artists for the very first time, we envy you! There is so much goodness and joy to discover here, you’re in for a real treat. This is a high level list of jazz artists to start your exploration – 

Artie Shaw

Benny Goodman

Bessie Smith

Billie Holiday

Buddy Johnson

Cab Calloway

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Christian

Chick Webb

Clifford Brown

Coleman Hawkins

Count Basie

Duke Ellington

Earl Hines

Ella Fitzgerald

Erskine Hawkins

Fats Waller

Fess Williams

Fletcher Henderson

Gene Krupa

Harry James

Illinois Jacquet

Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmy Dorsey & Tommy Dorsey

Jo Jones

Johnny Hodges

Lester Young

Lionel Hampton

Louis Armstrong

Lucky Millinder

Oscar Peterson

Slim and Slam

Stuff Smith

Teddy Wilson

Woody Herman


By exploring each of these musicians and their bands, you’ll start to uncover your personal tastes. At the same time, you’ll also start to get a sense of the foundations of swing and the music that gave birth to the dance we love. 

Special Emphasis on: Count Basie, Count Basie, Count Basie, Chick Webb, & Count Basie

One of the most important names on the above list is Count Basie, and Basie deserves some special attention. According to all of the Lindy Hoppers of the time, Count Basie was truly royalty when it came to the most swinging music around. Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, and so many other legendary dancers all stressed how much Count Basie surpassed all of the other musicians in his ability to create pure, unadulterated, swinging music that made you want to dance. Considering that, Basie’s music really contributed greatly to the development of Lindy Hop. 

We also want to give special recognition to Chick Webb’s Orchestra, the house band at the Savoy Ballroom. It was Chick Webb’s band that was playing when Lindy Hop was in some of its most important developmental stages, so listening to Chick Webb’s music can definitely be a source of inspiration to you in your practice and listening enjoyment. 

Jazz Standards & Lindy Hop Standards

Learning Lindy Hop really goes hand in hand with learning about jazz music. There are so many jazz standards that have become part of the living and breathing essence of the dance. Many of these are standards throughout jazz, and some of them have become standards more specifically within our dance community. 

After You’ve Gone

Ain’t Misbehavin’

Ain’t She Sweet

All of Me

All Or Nothing At All

Almost Like Being In Love

Baby Won’t You Please Come Home

Begin the Beguine

Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

Blue Moon

Blue Skies

Bye Bye Blackbird

C-Jam Blues (aka: Duke’s Place)

Cheek to Cheek

Corner Pocket

D’Lovely

Darktown Strutters Ball

Dedicated to You

Deed I Do

Dinah

Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Easy Does It

Exactly Like You

Flat Foot Floogie

Flying Home

Hit That Jive Jack

Honeysuckle Rose

I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me

I Can’t Give you Anything But Love

I Got Rhythm

I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart

I’m Beginning to See the Light

I’ve Found a New Baby

I’ve Got The World On A String

In a Mellotone

Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t My Baby

It Don’t Mean a Thing

It’s Only a Paper Moon

Jeepers Creepers

Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me)

Kansas City (Blues)

Let’s Fall In Love

Love Is Here to Stay

Lullaby of Birdland

Mack the Knife

Makin’ Whoopie

Mean to Me

My Baby Just Cares For Me

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Night and Day

On the Sunny Side of the Street

One O’Clock Jump

Our Love Is Here To Stay

Pennies From Heaven

Perdido

Rockin’ in Rhythm

Route 66

Satin Doll

Shiny Stockings

Sing Sing Sing

Slow Boat to China

Sometimes I’m Happy

Stompin’ at the Savoy

Sweet Georgia Brown

Sweet Lorraine

Tain’t What You Do

Take The “A” Train

Tea For Two

The Surrey with the Fringe on Top

Them There Eyes

They Can’t Take That Away from Me

Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

This Can’t Be Love

Three Little Words

Undecided

What Is This Thing Called Love?

When The Saints Go Marching In

When You’re Smiling

Why Don’t You Do Right


What’s great about looking up these songs is that you’ll find many different versions of each one, each with its own musical interpretation. If you’re an aspiring DJ, there’s nothing quite like spinning a new version of a familiar song to engage an audience. You can really have some fun with these!

Explore Contemporary Lindy Hop Bands

We are so lucky to have so many bands that have dedicated themselves to this swinging tradition. Whenever possible, we encourage you to support these wonderful bands; buy their music to include in your library, see them live whenever possible, and attend their virtual concerts whenever they’re available. They are an excellent supplement to all of the great classic music we’ve talked about. 

There are a lot of really amazing bands out there—we can’t possibly name them all! We’re going to give priority here to the bands whose music we’ve used here on iLindy. Please make sure to check out the iLindy Bands Page for more details about these stellar swinging musicians!

Carolina Reapers

Dizzy Birds

Gentlemen & Gangsters 

Hot Sugar Band

Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five, featuring Hilary Alexander

Michael Gamble & His Rhythm Serenaders

Reverant Juke

Shirt Tail Stompers

Solomon Douglas Swingtet


And by the way, we sell some of this music on our shop. Click here.

Have we forgotten anything important? I’m sure we have! We plan to keep adding to this post so please let us know what we’ve missed so we can update it!


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