LaPrise was born in Detroit, Michigan. He wrote the song in the early 1940s for the après-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 1948. They were awarded U.S. copyright in 1950.
The authorship of the Hokey Pokey is disputed, with European songwriter Jimmy Kennedy claiming to have written the original (entitled "Cokey-Cokey") during WWII. Robert Degan sued LaPrise for copyright infringement of his 1946 "The Hokey-Pokey Dance". They settled out of court.
LaPrise died, aged 83, in Gooding, Idaho.
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