There’s a great description of  what to look for in a good Shag tune in this article. We’ve also given some classic Shag tune examples below, but there’s a huge back catalogue of swing  from which to draw on. Any tune with solid pulse or bounce tends to be suitable; Rockabilly in particular lends itself well to Collegiate Shag and we’ve even danced to Ska music and T-Rex tunes. Purists would argue the point I’m sure, but Shag is a cool dance so why limit yourself to one style of music.

Members of our facebook group, Collegiate Shag UK, have compiled a list of their favourite Shag tunes on Spotify. You can hear them here.

Feel free to add a comment if you’ve got any favourite tunes and let us know what they are.

Title Artist Level BPM
When Buddha Smiles Benny Goodman Cool 180
At the Clambake Carnival Cab Calloway Cool 187
All The Cats Join In Benny Goodman Steamin’ 200
Jump Session Don Redman Cookin’ 224
Sugarfoot Stomp Fletcher Henderson Cookin’ 235
Traffic Jam Artie Shaw On Fire 262
Hand Clappin’ Red Prysock On fire 265


2 Responses to Music

  1. swiveltam says:

    WONDERFUL! Marvelous. I’m writing a sequel to my novel The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress ( and I’m working on a Shag scene which takes place in the 1940s. It’s been years since I deejayed and I liked lots of newer bands like Dean Mora and Bill Elliot as well as a lot of Western Swing (Billy Jack Wills) to Shag, too, but I needed more besides the usual Artie Shaw: Lady Be Good, and All the Cat’s Join In.

    Love your list. I will listen to them all and see how they fit. What do you think of The Moose or Skyliner by Charlie Barnet for Shag. One of the other’s I’m thinking is Betty Hutton’s: Who Kicked the Light Plug Out of the Socket.

    My goal in the novel is to also expose readers to new music 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

  2. Dai says:

    A Group of Shagsters in Montreal just put a routine together using Skyliner. You can see it here
    Also it sound like you could have great fun with “Who kicked the light plug out of the socket”
    Thanks for your comment and support

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