Getting started with music for Lindy Hop

People have been asking me a lot lately where to get some of the music I play at dance nights. The problem though, is not how or where to get it, but what to get. Like most swing DJs, I spend a lot of time listening through albums and picking out individual tracks to use – and sometimes the pickings can be very slim. It’s not unusual to find nothing I want to use, or only one or two tracks. It’s rare that I find an album with more than four tracks that I want to use for DJing, no matter that the album might be filled with incredible music. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too picky. My main criterion is simply this: if a track makes me want to get up and dance, I’ll use it.

This does make it hard to recommend any individual albums to people asking that question. So as an early effort to help with the problem, I’ve made a short list of tracks that have seen a lot of play on Lindy dance-floors over the years. These will all be instantly recognised by swing DJs and experienced Lindyhoppers, and some are considered overplayed (with good reason) – but they’re all well-known, all are great to dance to, they are fairly beginner friendly, and they’re all great tracks in their own right. And they’re all available on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon and other such download services. This isn’t any kind of comprehensive guide to swing music… but it should serve as a good starting point.

You can listen to them courtesy of an 8 track.

[8tracks url=”″ width=”350″ height=”350″ ]

Here’s the list:

Title Artist Length Speed Album
Hallelujah I Love Him So Ella Fitzgerald 2:20 140 Twelve Nights in Hollywood
Cole Slaw Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five 2:46 136 Jukebox Hits Vol. 2: 1947-1951
Hallelujah I Love Him So Ella Fitzgerald 2:20 140 Twelve Nights in Hollywood
Jump Session Slim & Slam 2:20 154 Slim & Slam
Banana Split For My Baby Louis Prima 2:33 138 The Best Of
Shout, Sister, Shout Lucky Millinder 2:45 143 Apollo Jump
Lavender Coffin Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra 2:42 145 Hey Ba Ba Re Bop
C Jam Blues Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis 3:18 146 Live In Swing City Swingin’ With Duke
Smooth Sailing Ella Fitzgerald 2:58 131 Bluella: Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Blues
Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me Sidney Bechet 5:38 144 Complete Blue Note 1939-1951 Master Takes
I Like Pie, I Like Cake Four Chefs 2:45 151 Roots, Volume 2 the 1930’s

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