Then Benny heard that NBC was looking for three bands to rotate on a new Saturday night broadcast to be called "Let's Dance," a phrase that has been associated with the Goodman band ever since. One band on the show was to be sweet, one Latin, and the third hot. The Goodman band was hot enough to get the job, but not hot enough to satisfy Benny. He brought in Gene Krupa on drums. Fletcher Henderson began writing the arrangements - arrangements that still sound fresh more than a half century later. And the band rehearsed endlessly to achieve the precise tempos, section playing and phrasing that ushered in a new era in American music. There was only one word that could describe this band's style adequately: Swing.
After six months of broadcasting coast to coast the band was ready for a cross-country tour. The band was ready but the country was not. The tour was a disaster until its last date in August, 1935, at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. The only plausible explanation for what happened there is that "Let's Dance" was aired three hours earlier on the west coast than in the east. The kids in Los Angeles had been listening, and thousands of them turned out to hear the band in person at the Palomar. They hadn't even come to dance; instead they crowded around the bandstand just to listen. It was a new kind of music with a new kind of audience, and their meeting at the Palomar made national headlines.
The video below features the Count Basie Band doing his own variation on the new sound. Basie's Kansas City sound was the next major break-out band, starting in 1938 with the success of "Oone O'Clock Jump". Here's the Count doing his first major hit in a 1950 performance.