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"Heebie Jeebies"
Single by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
Released 1926
Recorded February 26, 1926
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genre Jazz
Length 2:52
Label Okeh (Cat no. 9534-A)
Writer(s) Boyd Atkins

"Heebie Jeebies" is a composition written by Boyd Atkins and achieved fame when it was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1926. The recording on Okeh Records by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five includes a famous chorus of scat singing.

As popular legend (apparently originating from a 1930s claim by Richard M. Jones), Louis Armstrong dropped his lyric sheet while recording the song and thus, for lack of words to sing, began to improvise and thus created the sub-genre and technique of scat. While "Heebie Jeebies" is an important early recorded examples of scat, this story has been proven untrue, as scat was already in use as early as the 1910s, being developed along with ragtime music, and a few earlier recorded uses of scat in jazz recordings are known. However the inventiveness of Armstrong's use of scatting impressed many when the record first came out. Mezz Mezzrow's book "Really the Blues recounts the amazed and delighted reactions of Frank Teschmacher, Bix Beiderbecke, and other musicians on first hearing the record.

Armstrong was asked frequently about the dropped music story in his later years, giving conflicting answers. Possibly tired of repeatedly denying the story, he took to using such ambiguous descriptions as "They tell me that's how scat singing got started".

Various other recordings of the tune followed in the 1920s and 1930s. The Boswell Sisters performed the tune on radio, record, and in the film "The Big Broadcast".

Reference

  • Who Wrote that Song? Dick Jacobs & Harriet Jacobs, published by Writer's Digest Books, 1993
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