After signing a new recording contract with RCA records in the summer
of 1938, bandleader Artie Shaw called up "Begin the Beguine" to be the
first of six tunes he would record at his initial recording session on July
24. Until then Shaw’s band had been having a tough time finding an
identity and maintaining its existence without having had any popular
hits of significance; his previous recording contract with Brunswick
had lapsed at the end of 1937 without being renewed. Beguine”
became the signature song of Artie Shaw and his band.