The soundtrack to this movie was a must-have for anyone into the swing revival in the U.S. during the late 1990s.
Well, half of it was. The soundtrack CD consists of about equal parts big band tunes and orchestral background music. The frankly forgettable background music was produced by James Horner, and contains absolutely nothing you could dance to. The big band numbers were either original recordings from the era, or new arrangements which were performed in dance halls and recorded just for this movie. They were produced by Robert Kraft, and all but one were arranged by Chris Boardman. And they are good.
Unlike many of the neo-swing acts that were recording around that time, these songs were produced by a full-fledged big band orchestra and arranged with a steady, solid tempo for dancing. "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" was the second-most popular among 1990s "swing kids," being the only one recorded with vocals. It was originally popularized by the Andrews Sisters in the 1930s; here it's performed with only one vocalist instead of three.
The most popular, without question, was "Sing, Sing, Sing" -- originally written by Louis Prima, brought to greater fame by Benny Goodman and drummer Gene Krupa. The Benny Goodman version was invariably long, eight or twelve minutes, to allow for plenty of jazz improvisation and a prolonged drum solo. Dancing to it was exhausting. This version omitted the solo and much of the improvisation, bringing it just under five minutes while bringing out the brass section a little bit more. This track alone probably sold more copies of the soundtrack than the movie itself.
"Life Goes To A Party" by Benny Goodman and "Jumpin' At The Woodside" by Count Basie are two different songs, arranged side-by-side at the same steady tempo, resulting in one short but wondeful swing dance number. "Shout and Feel It" was an unrecorded Basie number in the same vein. "Daphne" was a well-known number performed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli; Dean Parks and Sid Page take their place for the contemporary recording, and while it's not as big a big-band piece as the others, it's quick tempo and short length makes it another excellent swing dance number.
The complete track listing is as follows, with the boring orchestral tracks in italics:
- Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing) - Robert Kraft/Chris Boardman
- Nothing To Report
- Shout And Feel It - Robert Kraft/Chris Boardman
- It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) - Billy Banks
- The Letter
- Flat Foot Floogee - Benny Goodman
- Arvid Beaten
- Swingtime In The Rockies - Benny Goodman
- Daphne - Robet Kraft
- Training For Utopia
- Life Goes To A Party/Jumpin' At The Woodside - Robert Kraft/Chris Boardman
- Goodnight, My Love - Benny Goodman
- Bei Mir Bist Du Schön - Robert Kraft/Chris Boardman, vocals by Janis Siegel
- The Bismarck
- Swing Heil