Tabor was born in Whitechapel in the East End of London to Jewish parents who had fled the pogroms of Vilnius, then in Russia. A musical prodigy as a child, he studied the violin under Mischa Elman, and at the age of 11 won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music. He spent the years of World War I staying with relatives of his mother in Boston, Massachusetts, where he came under the influence of the newly emerging jazz music, forming first a trio and then his own band that played in hotels in and around Boston.
On his return from the United States he played in many bands in England from the 1920s until the 1950s, and from 1928 was the Music Director of the Hammersmith and Birmingham Palais. It was during the The Blitz in 1940 that he first composed and his band first played the "Hokey Cokey".
- Krotosky, Lauren (2009-05-14), "Hokey Cokey in tune with modern times", TotallyJewish.com (London: Totally Communications), retrieved 2013-02-10
- The Hokey Cokey Man - The Story of Al and The Origins of The Song, London: New End Theatre, 2009, retrieved 2013-02-10
- Thomas, Mike, "Al Tabor", Dance Band Encyclopaedia, retrieved 2013-02-10
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