Song of the Day: Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five – “Heebie Jeebies”

Verve releases two new Louis Armstrong box sets

Recorded in Chicago on this day (February 26) in 1926, Louis Armstrong’s “Heebie Jeebies” is said to contain the first example of scat singing in jazz history. As legend has it, Satchmo dropped his song sheet during the recording session and resorted to inserting nonsense syllables in place of lyrics. Whether fact or fiction, it’s a story that Satchmo maintained throughout his life (though he sometimes admitted to singing some form of scat during his early days in New Orleans).

Armstrong comes in around the 1:25-minute mark, but the scatting really starts to heat up around 1:45. When it was released on OKeh Records later that year, “Heebie Jeebies” would become an instant sensation, inspiring countless jazz vocalists to adopt Armstrong’s unique vocal technique and make it their own.

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