If you were alive during the mid to late 1990s, congratulate yourself on surviving one of the strangest trends ever to afflict pop culture: the swing music revival. The swing revival '90s craze was everywhere, including movies, music, and even pants commercials. Although it began innocently enough as an embrace of the classic trend, the revival grew to epic heights before imploding within two years. While some people may now laugh at the songs and bands that came out of the trend, the fact that swing music infiltrated the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and even a presidential inauguration meant it held a legitimate place in '90s pop culture history.
Swing music originally grew out of blues, Dixieland, and jazz, and was wildly popular in the 1930s and 1940s. Swing bands usually featured many members and a lot of brass and horns to create energetic and danceable tunes. Swing dancing became a genuine phenomenon, as well, and dances like the Lindy hop encouraged participants to complete elaborate and athletic steps. Although swing's predecessors were music styles that were greatly important to African American history, swing musicians of all cultural backgrounds shared the sounds and often borrowed from one another. Many young people embraced the music as a form of rebellion and wore wild and loose-fitting outfits known as zoot suits to show this. As WWII began, the swing movement waned, partially because the conflict forced people to focus on international relations, but also due to audiences growing to love singers over the sound of big bands.
Swing music never truly ended though, and it experienced several small revivals before the '90s brought the music back into focus. Oddly enough, it came back with more strength than anyone expected.
'90s Movies Like 'The Mask' And 'Swing Kids' Featured Cool, Elaborate Swing Dancing ScenesPhoto: The Mask / New Line Cinema
The 1996 Film 'Swingers' Featured The LA Swing Scene As A Prominent Plot Point And A Cameo From Big Bad Voodoo DaddyPhoto: Swingers / Miramax
The Squirrel Nut Zippers Scored The First Big Mainstream Swing Revival Hit With Their 1996 Single 'Hell'Video: YouTube
Royal Crown Revue Became Regular Performers At The Derby In LA And Later Wrote 'Hey Pachuco!' For 'The Mask'Photo: The Mask / New Line Cinema
Around Los Angeles, An 'Alternative' Swing Scene Grew As Punk Bands And Venues Started Dabbling In The Genre
'Zoot Suit Riot' Was A Billboard Hit And VMA Nominee, Despite Borrowing Its Title From A Series Of Race Riots In The 1940sVideo: YouTube