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Big Band Music of the War Years

The big bands provide the background music for practically every World War II museum. This very danceable music is also the focus of the Knott House’s annual swing dance celebration. Here for your listening pleasure are three war time foxtrots from the Knott’s record collection.

Jersey Bounce was so popular that it became the nickname of dozens of aircraft during the war and was recorded by most if not all of the big bands. Here is Benny Goodman’s take on it:


Goodman also recorded A String of Pearls although the Glenn Miller arrangement is more familiar these days.


The most successful recording artist of the late thirties and early forties, Glenn Miller enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. Jimmy Doolittle said that the only moral booster that exceeded Glenn Miller’s music was a letter from home. Here his band holds forth on the Jimmy Van Heusen song Moonlight Becomes You.


Captain Miller disappeared over the English Channel on Friday night December 15, 1944 the day before the Battle of the Bulge began. His loss was not announced until Christmas Eve when he was scheduled for a radio appearance.

Benny Goodman (1942)

A String of Pearls

Jersey Bounce

Glenn Miller (1942)

A: Moonlight Becomes You