Music for Dancing Grammas
August 26, 2016 1:32 PM   Subscribe

What music styles or specific songs do 85-year-old ladies like to dance to? I'm putting together a playlist for some dancing grammas. Certain criteria: Familiar songs (popular in the 1940s-60s); Upbeat (no slow dancing at this crazy ol' party); not loud (no rock please, not even Elvis); bonus for international songs or sung in non-English, especially German!

Perfect examples so far:
Bei mir bist du schon, by The Andrews Sisters
Tu vo'fa'l'americano, by Renato Carosone
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
If they're 85, most of them would be 18 in 1949. So your starting point is likley the "music of their youth." I would look at the top hits from 1948 - 1959.

Here's 1950. You should be able to change the date in the URL to get other years.
posted by anastasiav at 1:40 PM on August 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

Uptempo Rosemary Clooney (Come-on-a-my house, Mambo Italiano, for example), and selections from Della Reese's Swing, Slow and Cha Cha Cha album.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:44 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Wikipedia has some very nice write ups by years, including musical theater and classical. I've linked 1950 again.

This Wikipedia page is all the #1 hits in Germany with links to more comprehensive lists by year at the bottom. Looks like Germany started having a "Hot 100" in 1953.
posted by anastasiav at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2016

Is this group Jewish, by any chance? Because then you might want to look into some klezmer.
posted by praemunire at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Upbeat, check.
Popular in the 50's and beyond, check.
German, check (although there are no words).

Your money back if they don't all break into grins.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 2:30 PM on August 26, 2016

For my relatives just below that age bracket (also no rock please! types), a dance party is a ballroom dance party, and the music needs to be rhythmically right for the dances they know and like: waltzes, foxtrots, a few not-too-intense polkas to start with; some swing and/or Latin dances, and some regional stuff like the square dance. Finding out what kind of dance your crowd does might help you narrow down music styles they'd groove to.

Here's a list of foxtrot-able tunes, not all from your target time but many are:
posted by snorkmaiden at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2016

Upbeat Bing Crosby will always be a success. I'm thinking "Accentuate the Positive".

Spike Jones might make them laugh, if they remember him, though he's not really for dancing.
posted by frumiousb at 4:11 PM on August 26, 2016

If there's no Frank Sinatra playing for my 88-year-old grandma and her 90-year-old boyfriend, then it ain't a party
posted by tatiana wishbone at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Perhaps some upbeat songs from musicals of the 1940s-1960s? Plenty to choose from - you've got Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, My Fair Lady, and West Side Story, just to name a few.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:55 PM on August 27, 2016

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