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The Hokey Cokey

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The Hokey Cokey

Is this an icon?


The Hokey Cokey

Have you ever put your left arm in and out, and then shaken it all about?  If so, the chances are that you've done the Hokey Cokey. This is the most popular of the social dances of the mid-twentieth century, outliving both the Lambeth Walk and the Chestnut Tree - probably because it is so simple. You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around. That's what it's all about!

The Hokey Cokey was first danced in the 1940s, though there are conflicting accounts of its origin. It has been claimed by English bandleader, Jerry Hoey, Irish songwriter, Jimmy Kennedy, and two US writers, Bob Degen and Larry LaPrise. Adding to the confusion, the dance has also been called the Hoey Oka, Cokey Cokey, and, in the USA, the Hokey Pokey.  This variety of names undermines the theory that it was invented to parody the Latin Mass.

Did you hear the story about the funeral of the song's creator? The most difficult part was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in...and then the trouble started.

Photo: Natasha House, Editor Music For Squares



Your comments

back in 17th century Puritan England anything 'popish' or Roman Catholic was viewed with great suspicion and open to, at best, ridicule. The Hokey-Cokey, with its song and actions, is a mimicry of the Roman Catholic Mass. In those days the priest faced the altar (not the people) and performed several actions as he consecrated the bread and wine at Holy Communion. The words of the service were in Latin. You put your left arm in ......etc was ridiculing the priest as he lifted his arms heavenward during the rite. You do the Hokey- Cokey and you turn around............ was when the priest turned to face the congregation with the host (consecrated bread) to offer it to them.

Steve Ward



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye