The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Tax Man: A Real "Solid Bringer-Downer"

Washington, D.C. Jitterbugs at an Elk's Club dance, the "cleanest dance in town"
I wonder if the Beatles knew they were signing about the decline of the Swing Era in "Tax Man?"  Like most folks, I just assumed the birth of Rock & Roll led to the demise of Swing.  While there is no doubt it was a contributing factor, I found an article on TaxProf Blog (how I got there I do not remember) indicating that taxes also helped kill Swing.  It seems that a 1944 cabaret tax imposed a 30% excise on all establishments that served food or drink and allowed dancing.  Clubs that provided music to which no one danced were exempt.  Ever wonder why jazz went from Swing, which is dance music, to Bebop, which is not?  Blame (at least in part) Uncle Sam.

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