Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The Hokey Pokey

First recorded (in the United States) by The Sun Valley Trio (1948, released 1950).
Popular versions by Cliffie Stone & His Hometown Jamboree Gang (1951), Ray Anthony & His Orchestra (B-side 1953).

From the wiki: “‘The Hokey Pokey’, also known as ‘The Hokey Cokey’ in the United Kingdom, is a campfire song and participation dance with a distinctive accompanying tune and lyric structure. It is well-known in English-speaking countries. It originates in a British folk dance, with variants attested as early as 1826. The song and accompanying dance peaked in popularity as a music hall song and novelty dance in the mid-1940s in the UK.

“Larry LaPrise, Charles Macak, and Tafit Baker of the musical group the Ram Trio, better known as the Sun Valley Trio, recorded the song in 1948 and it was released in 1950. They have generally been credited with creating this novelty dance as entertainment for the ski crowd at the Sun Valley, Idaho resort.

“Cliffie Stone was an American country singer, musician, record producer, music publisher, and radio and TV personality who was pivotal in the development of California’s thriving country music scene after World War II during a career that lasted six decades. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989. Stone began working at Capitol Records in 1946, and became an A&R man there; among the talents he discovered were Tennessee Ernie Ford (for whom he acted as manager from 1947 to 1957).

“Ultimately better known for his successes in radio, Stone did record six albums with a backing band which went under various names, including Cliffie Stone & His Orchestra, Cliffie Stone & His Barn Dance Band, Cliffie Stone & His Hometown Jamboree Gang, Cliffie Stone & His Hepcats, and Cliffie Stone’s Country Hombres. Stone had a bona fide Top-40 hit in 1955 with ‘The Popcorn Song’ (#14).

“In 1953, Ray Anthony’s big band recording of the song turned it into a nationwide sensation. The distinctive vocal was by singer Jo Ann Greer.

“Though not a best-selling “chart hit” at its time of release in early 1953, it’s one that all kids knew. And ‘The Hokey Pokey’ remains among 1953’s most recognizable and fondly-recalled record releases. Along with its predecessor, Anthony’s late-1952 hit ‘Bunny Hop’, the Hokey Pokey dance remained for decades a regular feature of class reunion get-togethers, with Capitol making sure that the reissue recording always remained in-print.”

Cliffie Stone & His Hometown Jamboree Gang, “The Hokey Pokey” (1951):

Ray Anthony & His Orchestra, “The Hokey Pokey” (1953):

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