A Music Mix Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

A collection of songs reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties.

great gatsby playlist

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—a beloved classic which you should read if you haven’t already—takes us back to a roaring time of wild dancing, bright city lights, and thrilling music. This mix, inspired by Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age novel, takes you back to the exciting time of the 20’s with a new-age twist.

To get you in the dancing spirit, here are 10 tracks of 1920s-inspired music that will fuel your Charleston and set your toes a-tapping:

1. “Any Old Thing” by Swing Republic

Danish electro swing duo Swing Republic mixes the old with a revamped style in this track. It’s a light and easygoing song that reminds me of something that might play in the background to a 1920s scene.

2. “That Man” by Caro Emerald

Dutch pop and jazz singer Caro Emerald enchants in almost everything that she does. One of her earlier tracks, “That Man” is the perfect song to match the sassy and independent style of the decade’s flappers.

3. “Young and Beautiful” by Postmodern Jukebox (Lana Del Rey Cover)

Postmodern Jukebox, a group known for its retro-styled covers recreates Lana Del Rey’s single, “Young and Beautiful,” which was featured in the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Michelle Williams. The song plays the melancholy feeling of the Lost Generation Fitzgerald captured in his novel.

4. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Herb Alpert (Cover)

American musician Herb Alpert’s dance music video to the tune of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” shows off how easily the exciting style of the 1920’s can be enjoyed and revamped for contemporary times.

5. “Crazy in Love” by Swing Republic (Beyonce Cover)

Swing Republic’s cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” is toe-tapping good fun. It musically explores the theme of obsessive love or being “crazy in love,” just as the novel does. Plus, it has a fun, dancing beat.

6. “St. James Ballroom” by Alice Francis

Complete with a fringed dress, Alice Francis’s video for “St. James Ballroom” accurately captures the fun dancing feel of the decade. It feels like an opener for a Gatsby party.

7. “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie featuring Q-Tip

Also featured on The Great Gatsby soundtrack, “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie and Q-Tip sounds like the main event at a Gatsby party, mixed with a modern beat.

8. “Love is the Drug” by Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra

Another track from the Great Gatsby film, this swanky track is reminiscent of the hazy, smoke-covered glamor of the decade and of the novel. How can you not listen to this song and think of the drug-like obsession Gatsby has with Daisy?

9. “The Charleston” performed by Green Hill Instrumental

How could I not include the “Charleston” in this list? It’s about as classic as it gets, and probably the track on here that’s closest to what the partygoers at Gatsby’s would have danced to.

10. “After Midnight” by Danny Elfman (Chicago Soundtrack)

Danny Elfman’s sensual and elegant “After Midnight” from the 2002 film version of “Chicago” makes you want to sway all night in a jazzy speakeasy. The trumpet section draws you in and doesn’t let you go. I can just imagine this being the wrap-up song after a wild night at Gatsby’s mansion.

Which songs do you think should be added to our playlist?

Written by Lena Gilmour

My name is Lena Gilmour. I'm a second-year university student passionate about reading and writing. I live in Canada and yes, it's as cold as they say it is.