Heebie Jeebies (composition)

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"Heebie Jeebies"
Heebie Jeebies.jpg
Single by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
RecordedFebruary 26, 1926
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
LabelOKeh (Cat no. 9534-A)
Songwriter(s)Boyd Atkins

"Heebie Jeebies" is a composition written by Boyd Atkins which achieved fame when it was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1926.[1] The recording on Okeh Records by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five includes a famous example of scat singing by Armstrong.[2]

A popular legend (apparently originating from a 1930s claim by Richard M. Jones) says that Louis Armstrong dropped his lyric sheet while recording the song and for lack of words to sing, began to improvise his vocals and thereby created the technique of scat singing. This story, though popular, may be apocryphal. Nevertheless, the inventiveness of the technique impressed many when the record first came out - Mezz Mezzrow's book Really the Blues recounts the delighted reactions of Frank Teschmacher, Bix Beiderbecke, and other musicians.

Another notable feature of the record is the hokum coda, in which a line is delivered too early, leaving the break over which it should have been spoken completely empty.

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.[3] Chick Webb made a notable recording with an arrangement by Benny Carter.[4]


  1. ^ Larson, Tom (2002). History and Tradition of Jazz. Kendall Hunt p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7872-7574-7.
  2. ^ Nugent, Addison (February 15, 2018). "The Day Louis Forgot His Lines". Ozy. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Reed, Bobby (February 2015). "Duchess: Duchess". DownBeat. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Giddins, Gary (1998). Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press p. 141. ISBN 978-0-1998-7953-3.
  • Who Wrote that Song? Dick Jacobs & Harriet Jacobs, published by Writer's Digest Books, 1993