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Artie Shaw and His Orchestra perform “Begin the Beguine” (music and lyric by Cole Porter,1935) in a short musical film, with Buddy Rich on drums.

The song “Begin the Beguine” was written for the 1935 musical Jubilee but wasn’t recorded at the time. When Artie Shaw re-arranged it as a swing number four years later it became a huge hit, but remained largely known as an instrumental. Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell danced to it in the film Broadway Melody of 1940, and it was subsequently recorded by many famous singers, including Frank Sinatra and Tony Martin. The song is unusual in its structure; unlike most popular 32-bar popular standards which follow an AABA pattern, “Begin the Beguine” stretches for 108 bars and there are no repeated phrases.

  • 1939
  • Performance: Artie Shaw performing Begin the Beguine
  • Performance Type: Movie
related song(s)
Begin the Beguine
related performer(s)
Artie Shaw
Michael Feinstein
related songwriter(s)
Cole Porter