The Hokey Pokey Song: Speculations about its Origins: Background information when reading Hokey Pokey

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Hokey Pokey

By Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2013,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: 22 Apr 2014,
    320 pages.

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Beyond the Book:
The Hokey Pokey Song: Speculations about its Origins

You put your right foot in
You put your right foot out
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

The Hokey Pokey is a timeless circle game, played by millions of children in millions of circles across many, many miles. But where did it come from? How did it start?

The Hokey Pokey Dance The Hokey Pokey (known as such in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia, known as Hokey Cokey in the U.K., and Hokey Tokey in New Zealand) is a circle dance, in which the participants sing the song (see above) and follow the lyrics, putting different parts of the body into the circle when instructed to do so. The Hokey Pokey appears to have a few possible places of origin.

The first was in wartime London. Supposedly a Canadian army officer suggested that Al Tabor, a British bandleader during the 1920-50s, write a party song. Al Tabor wrote it in 1942, and titled the song Hokey Pokey, based on...

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