How a tax begat bebop.

This Knocked My Socks Off!

During World War 2, a federal excise tax was imposed on supper clubs to raise funds from their wealthy patrons. According to Eric Felton in The Wall Street Journal, this so-called cabaret tax imposed a 30% tax at venues that featured dancing to a live band and served food. Clubs that provided instrumental music with no dancing were exempt. Within 5 years, the big band sound was dead, replaced by “a new and undanceable jazz performed primarily by small instrumental groups – bebop. . ..” The cabaret tax was finally eliminated in 1965, but by then the rock-and-roll revolution was well underway.

For more insight into the effect of jazz on US culture, read my previous post, How Jazz Hastened Civil Rights.

If that knocked your socks off, take a look at our next cool topic, coming soon. And if you want to peruse all of the previous sock-knocking blog entries, visit the Knocked My Socks Off archive. (links to another blog site)

Felton E. How the taxman cleared the dance floor. The Wall Street Journal. March 18, 2013:A13. Accessed April 2, 2013.