Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
LaPrise wrote the song in the late 1940s for the apres-ski crowd at a club in Sun Valley Idaho. The song was first recorded by his group the Ram Trio (with Charles Macak and Tafit Baker) in 1949. They were awarded US copyright in 1950.
The authorship of the Hokey-Pokey is disputed, with Jimmy Kennedy claiming to have written the original entitled Cokey-Cokey, or Hokey-Cokey, or Okey-Cokey during WWII. Robert Degan sued LaPrise for copyright infringement of his 1946 The Hokey-Pokey Dance. They settled out of court.
Some scholars attribute the origin to the Shaker song Hinkum-Booby which had similar lyrics and was published in Edward Deming's A gift to be simple in 1940:
"I put my right hand in, I put my right hand out, I give my right hand a shake, And I turn it all about."
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