On 25 October 1938, Archbishop Francis Joseph Beckman (1875 –1948), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Dubuque, condemned swing music as “a degenerated musical system, turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fibre of young people.”
Before the National Council of Catholic Women, he proclaimed that swing music was going to ruin young people and send them down the “primrose path to Hell”.
In addition to the clergy, even some music critics were attacking it because in their opinion that disgusting “dance craze” was a degeneration of music.
Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of popular jazz music developed in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.
Even though its beginning is hard to identify, the word ‘swing’ appears in the title of a famous composition by Duke Ellington (1931) called “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”
Swing was hugely popular and was mostly performed by Big Bands which usually featured soloists who would improvise. Above all, it was dance music because it was simple and had clear melodies marked by a smooth beat and flowing phrasing.
Swing music was banned from Nazi Germany in 1942 because it held African roots, many jazz musicians were of Jewish origin, and most of its themes had to do with individuality and freedom.