boogaloo roots?

Oliver Wang oliverwang at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Mar 28 01:29:21 UTC 2007


Thanks for the response - as is evident, I'm not an etymologist and
most of what I've collected is either anecdotal or conjectural and
this listserv is the only place I've seen any citations that trace to
where and how the term emerged. As noted, there's a lot of good
"stories" around (including one that attempts to link "boogaloo" with
the Irish "bodagh luath" but again, it's conjectural).

I appreciate the 1939 citation, at least this further shows  that the
term was in circulation far earlier than the 1960s.


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>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
>Subject:      Re: boogaloo roots?
>>  From what I have gathered so far, the following traces some of this history:
>>1) "boogaloo" is most likely a derivation of boogie-woogie
>I don't know that this is substantiated (but I haven't looked into it).
>Maybe it's from "boogie" + "loup-garou" for all I know.
>>(and thus,
>>a derivation of the West African "bogi" (dance).
>I haven't seen any evidence in favor of this speculation (but I haven't
>searched very hard either).
>>Another etymologist suggested that there may also be a connection
>>between "boogaloo" and the Santeria saint Babalu-Aye though he
>>cautioned that link was more tenuous.
>Any evidence? There are lots of etymology stories around, most of them
>false (of course).
>>2) The earliest application of the term "boogaloo" seems to center on
>>boogie woogie pianist Abie "Boogaloo" Ames who, according to the
>>Washington Post's obit, received that nickname in the 1940s. By the
>>mid-1950s (as noted in the earlier ADS-L post), there was at least
>>uses of the term again within the musical world.
>>3) "Boogaloo" didn't emerge in a major way until the mid 1960s,
>>starting with Tom and Jerry-O's "Boo-Ga-Loo" from 1965 but there's
>>considerable confusion as to where they got the term from. From what
>>I've found, it's possible they took the name of their song from an
>>existing dance (rather than the other way around) which opens the
>>question of who invented the dance known as boogaloo.
>>If anyone has any information on uses of "boogaloo" that predates
>>Abie Ames, I would appreciate potential leads.
>Here's an early instance ... not very enlightening etymologically though.
>_Lethbridge [Alberta] Herald_, 30 Oct. 1939: p. 4:
>[quoted from "Time Magazine": letter from Darien GA]
><<I like the explanation of this war given by "Boogaloo" a happy-go-lucky
>Negro as he talked with my husband.>>
>[remainder is about the war]
>-- Doug Wilson
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Dept of Sociology
CSU-Long Beach

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