The Lindy Hop and The Jitterbug Jive

"Jitter" was the Jazz culture slang for alcohol, and thus a "Jitterbug" was a term for those who drank a lot of alcohol. However, in the mid 1930's, the Lindy Hop started to be called the Jitterbug when the band leader Cab Calloway introduced a tune in 1934 entitled "Jitterbug."

By 1942, the Lindy Hop would be fully renamed as the Jitterbug Jive, or more commonly as the "Jitterbug." It would later share this same name with a later related dance, but the reason why the Lindy Hop was renamed appears to go back to the man referred to as "Lindy" : Charles Lindbergh. Although Charles Lindburgh had been previously praised and celebrated as a hero, his outspoken pro-nazi stance leading up to World War 2 caused him, and his name, to become an object to be shunned. Much like saurkraut was renamed from its German name into the politically correct "liberty cabbage," the Lindy Hop was renamed the Jitterbug Jive, and later on, just the Jitterbug. In time, the term "Lindy Hop" would almost be forgotten about.

In the 1950's, American Bandstand -- hosted by Dick Clark -- was considered the television show to go to if one wanted to learn the latest "in" dances. Because the music played on the show was too quick for the Ballroom Swing's triple-steps, and because of censorship issues with "wiggling hips," the street version of Ballroom Swing -- popularly also known as "Jitterbug" -- was what teens saw, and emulated. Because American Bandstand was a nationally broadcast show, this "Single Time" East Coast Swing (the street version of Ballroom Swing), became popular among teens nationally, and the stolen name "Jitterbug" was applied to it by most of the nation. Because two different dances now shared a common name, the Lindy Hop would later regain its original name so as to clarify the confusion.