The first people to ‘do the hokey pokey’ did it in Idaho

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 18:07:31-05

This article was written by Anna Daly of BoiseDev.

🎶 Put your right foot in… put your right foot out…

While this song can be easy to sing and one we all know from roller skating, birthday parties, and other organized fun activities, you’ll want to turn yourself around to read about its Idaho origin.

Although versions of the song date back to the early 1800s, like the Hokey Cokey, a British campfire song and group participation dance, the Hokey Pokey became well known in the US in the 1950s.

The Sun Valley Trio – Charles Macak, Larry LaPrise, and Tafft Baker – was a band that played at the Ram Bar in the Sun Valley village for skiers at night. The band was also known as the Ram Trio.

Laprise wrote the Hokey Pokey in the early 1940s and in the late 1940s, according to an article in the Washington Post, they played it for a large crowd at the bar and it became an instant hit. In the 1950’s they recorded and released the song.

“The Hokey Pokey’ is like a square dance, really,” LaPrise told the Times-News in Twin Falls in 1992. “You turn around. You shake it all about. Everyone is in a circle, and it gets them all involved.”

Today, a sign hangs at Village Station, also noting Sun Valley as the birthplace of the song.

To listen to the full recording, watch the video below.