The hoochie coochie was a sexually provocative belly dance term that originated at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. It became wildly popular during and after the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Described by the New York Journal in 1893 as "Neither dancing of the head nor the feet", it was a belly dance performed by women of, or presented as having an, Eastern European gypsy heritage, often as part of travelling sideshows. Gooch, goochie or gootchie was apparently already a term in the American South for a woman's vagina, and hoochie coochie has been suggested as referring directly to sex.
Since the dance was performed by women, a goochie man, or hoochie coochie man, either watched them or ran the show. Alternatively, from the directly sexual meaning of goochie goochie, he was successful with women. This inspired the classic blues song "Hoochie Coochie Man", written by Willie Dixon for Muddy Waters, and covered by numerous musicians since. The dance was still popular at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition: the World's Fair of 1904, but had all but disappeared by the Second World War; the song was therefore harking back to an earlier "golden" era.
In popular culture
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- Cab Calloway refers to the title character in the 1931 song "Minnie the Moocher" as a "red-hot hoochie coocher."
- In the 1944 musical film Meet Me in St. Louis, the song "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" refers to dancing the "Hoochie-Koochie" at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
- Carmen Miranda refers to the "hoochie coo" in her song "Give Me a Band and a Bandana" in the 1944 movie Greenwich Village.
- In the 1950 film Wagon Master, which takes place circa 1880, a traveling hoochie coochie show joins a Mormon wagon train.
- Elvis Presley refers to the "hoochie coo" in his gospel song "Saved".
- "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" is a rock song written by Rick Derringer, first recorded in 1970.
- "The Song Remains the Same", the opening track from Led Zeppelin's 1973 album Houses of the Holy, includes the lyrics: Sing out hare hare, dance the hoochie koo."
- "Who'd She Coo?" was a hit song for The Ohio Players in 1976.
- Alan Jackson claims it is hotter than a "hoochie coochie" in his 1993 single "Chattahoochee".
- Roger Alan Wade refers to "do[ing] a Hoochie Coochie" in the title track from his 2005 album All Likkered Up.
- Blakroc refers to the "hoochie coo" in their song "Ain't Nothing Like You" from their 2009 self-titled album.
- Gloria Estefan refers to the "hoochie coochie" in her 2011 single "Hotel Nacional".
- "Hoochie Coochie Lady" is a song by rock band Elf.
- Chujoy, Anatole and P.W. Manchester. The Dance Encyclopedia. Revised and enlarged edition. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1967, p. 474.
- Stencell, A. W. Girl Show: Into the Canvas World of Bump and Grind ECW Press, 1999. ISBN 1550223712. p.605