You put your left arm in, your left arm out
In out, in out, you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That's what it's all about
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Knees bent, arms stretched
Raa raa raa

You put your right arm in, your right arm out
In out, in out, you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That's what it's all about Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Knees bent, arms stretched
Raa raa raa

You put your left leg in, your left leg out
In out, in out, you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That's what it's all about
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Knees bent, arms stretched
Raa raa raa

You put your right leg in, your right leg out
In out, in out, you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That's what it's all about
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Whoa-o the Hokey Cokey
Knees bent, arms stretched
Raa raa raa




Al Tabor, A Biography

Alfred Taboriwsky was born in 1898 in Whitechapel, in the East End of London. He was the son of a chemistry student, Abraham, and Sarah.

(Abraham and Sarah, Al's parents.)

His parents had fled Vilna, in Russia, due to the pogroms which had cut short Abraham's chemistry studies. The couple set up in business and had a little barber shop.

(The barber shop in Sidney Street. The Taboriwsky family lived above the shop. Abraham, Al's father is standing in front of the shop door, and his mother, Sarah, is standing on the far right. Al is standing 4th from the left with his younger sister, Annie, next to him.)

It cost 1d a haircut and 3d for a shave.

(Al and his sister, Annie, who later became a concert pianist)

Alfie, as he was affectionately called, was a child music prodigy. At huge cost, his parents paid for violin lessons from a relative of Mischa Elman, an eminent violinist of the time. When they had saved up enough money, they purchased a valuable violin from Mr. Elman: a Gaspar da Salo, made by the famous 16th Century violin maker.

Al was often distracted during the 6 hours of daily music practice. He longed to play outside with his friends, or to buy an ice cream from the barrow coster, who would call out, "hokey pokey penny a lump, have a lick make you jump!"

At the age of eleven, Al won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music, where he won an All England Shield. At the age of fourteen he played in a cinema for Madam Walters, accompanying the silent films.

He also joined Herr Blum's Viennese Orchestra.

(1913 touring with Herr Blum's Viennese Orchestra. Al is first from the left in the back row)

touring the country and also the Russian Naval Orchestra.

(Playing with the Russian Naval Orchestra . Al is 2nd from the right in the back row)

Abraham and Sarah lost three sons in infancy before Alfie was born. His parents were understandably over protective of him. When World War 1 was declared, she packed her son off to stay with family in Boston, Massachusetts. This might have been to protect his hands, but more likely, to protect his life. Prior to leaving England Al played at a fundraising concert for Belgian refugees at the Aeolian Hall, New Bond Street.

In the United States Al found it difficult to find work playing classical violin. He soon came under the influence of the new music, which was in its ascendancy: jazz. Al established a trio and then a band,

(Al playing sax with his Revere Beach Band at the Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston.)

playing classical and popular music in the best hotels in and around Boston. On his return to London

(Al in 1917, aged 19 years)

with his wife, Jenny,

(Jenny in 1917, aged 21 years)

and their baby daughter, Eileen, he formed a new band, playing at Lyon's Corner House. Six years later a second daughter, June, is born.

During the 1920s through to the 1950s he formed several bands and was Music Director at the Hammersmith and Birmingham Palais de Dance for many years.

(Al Tabor's Transatlantic Orchestra at The Hammersmith Palais de Dance. Back row from the left: Bobby Martin, Joe Daniels, Bert Collier, Danny Miller, unknown member, Harry Musikant, Gus Landau Front row: Al Tabor)

He also played in society nightclubs, and

(Al playing the banjo with his FIve Aces Band in 1926 at the Palais de Dance in Toll Cross, Edinburgh)

venues across England

(Al and his trio in 1927 at Queen's Hotel, Cliftonville)

and in France, playing on the same bill with the likes of Gracie Fields, Godfrey Wynn, Hutch and Max Miller. He also made appearances on radio (‘Music While You Work") and television (BBC "Toppers About Town") It was in one of the clubs, Murray's, during the Blitz in 1940 that "The Hokey Cokey" was first composed and played by Al Tabor and his band.

(Al and his band at Murray's Club, Beak Street, where "The Hokey Cokey" was first played in 1940)

It was after Al left Murray's Club in 1942 that he began a 7 year engagement at the top nightspot, The Bagatelle Restaurant, in Mayfair.

(Al Tabor playing at The Bagatelle Restaurant, where Princess Elizabeth came to dance and was reported to having said that Al Tabor was her favourite band. Back row from the left: unknown member, Joe Daniels, Bing Stern, Harry Franks, Aurthur Kes, Edward Rubach, Lee (Sonny) Front row: Mr Ferraro (the manager) with Al Tabor)

(Al Tabor at Hornsey in 1961 in his gypsy costume)

Al was a perfectionist when it came to performing. Besides being a composer, arranger and violinist, the trumpet, saxophone, banjo, clarinet and harmonica were all included among his repertoire of instruments. He required all of his band members to be able to play at least three instruments and he expected the highest of standards from all of them. Arnie Rack, referred to him as "Al Tabor, ‘ard labour!" Another, Joe Daniels, a drummer, who later formed his own group "The Hot Shots, said "the ladies just fell at his feet!" But Al was an extremely private man and never discussed what went on in his private life.

Victor Silvester, the ballroom dancing champion of 1920s and 1930s, considered Al to be a master of strict tempo.

(A letter to Al from Victor Silvester - click to enlarge)

Edward, the Prince of Wales, and later the Duke of Windsor, chose Al to play at his private parties. Edmundo Ross, Ray Noble and Joe Loss, were all associates and visited him at his home in Wembley. Al was feted wherever he went,

(Al and one of his bands in 1939 at Ramsgate)

and the Mayor of Ramsgate gave him the keys to the town.

(An article in a music publication - click to enlarge)

(A Testimonial. 1936 - click to enlarge)

Al died, aged 85, in a nursing home in Bournemouth, Jenny surviving him by 11 years, in a nursing home in Elstree.

(Al Tabor at 80)