The Etymology of "Boogaloo/Bugalu"?

mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
edited December 2006 in Strut Central
So...here's something I have yet to figure out...Where does the term "boogaloo" come from? I know what it refers to but not its origins. I've heard some theories say that it comes out of an African American vernacular - an explanation I'd be partial to except that its adoption within popular music begins in Nuyorican music first and then gets picked up by jazz artists later. Anyone have a sense of this, esp. you Latin headz out there?
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  • pjl2000xlpjl2000xl 1,795 Posts
    "The term boogaloo was probably coined in about 1966 by Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz".

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    I'm aware that Ricardo Ray was (perhaps) the first to put it on an album, namely his two volume "Jala Jala Boogaloo" series but the question is: did he just invent the term out of nowhere?

    Oxford English Dictionary takes a guess at it, suggesting that it's derived from a combination of "boogie" and "hullabaloo" but what's crazy is that they cite a 1965 entry in the Dictionary of Regional American English which had the term included, at least a year before Ray's first Allegre LPs hit the streets.

  • spelunkspelunk 3,400 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.

  • ReynaldoReynaldo 6,054 Posts
    Didn't Bobby Valentin's Young Man with a Horn come out in 1965? "Best in Bugaloo"...


  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Reynaldo,

    Yeah - that did come out in '65. Ok, that blows the Ricardo Ray theory out the water.

    So where did Valentin get the term?

  • dayday 9,612 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.



    haha, I guess Boogaloo is a secret...

    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

  • dayday 9,612 Posts


    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

    Good ol' Wikipedia

    Electric boogaloo is a style of funk dance and street dance closely related to popping. It became the signature style of the dance group started in 1977 called the Electric Boogaloos, a group that popularized popping and many of its related styles.

    According to the Electric Boogaloos, the electric boogaloo dance style combines a dance called boogaloo with popping. This boogaloo was supposedly created by Boogaloo Sam in 1975 and should not to be confused with the Latin American dance known as the boogaloo, which is a completely different style. Boogaloo Sam's boogaloo was a fluid leg-oriented style danced to funk music, utilizing rolls of the hips, knees and head, which was later combined with the popping technique to create the more versatile electric boogaloo.[1]

    Today, boogaloo is often used as a synonym for the electric boogaloo.

    Sorry for the hijack

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.



    haha, I guess Boogaloo is a secret...

    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

    The PM was to another resource. Rest assured, we still haven't gotten to a definitive answer yet.

    As for the transmutation of the term - that's also an interesting path to follow. From what little I can put together, it gets picked up by jazz players by 1967/68 (hence John Patton's "Boogaloo" and of course, Ivan Joe "Boogaloo" Jones) and takes on a new life in that direction. By the early/mid 1970s, it gets picked up out in Cali as a funk dance which, I'm assuming, bears little in common with the original Latin boogaloo dance.

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.



    haha, I guess Boogaloo is a secret...

    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

    The PM was to another resource. Rest assured, we still haven't gotten to a definitive answer yet.

    As for the transmutation of the term - that's also an interesting path to follow. From what little I can put together, it gets picked up by jazz players by 1967/68 (hence John Patton's "Boogaloo" and of course, Ivan Joe "Boogaloo" Jones) and takes on a new life in that direction. By the early/mid 1970s, it gets picked up out in Cali as a funk dance which, I'm assuming, bears little in common with the original Latin boogaloo dance.

    It sounds to me like one of those slang terms that just bounced around for years, taking on different meanings/uses along the way like "funk" did.

    I doubt we'll be able to come up with a definitive 'source' cuz its probably just something folks would say and it happened to become associated with a particular music scene...

  • spelunkspelunk 3,400 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.



    haha, I guess Boogaloo is a secret...

    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

    Just a linguistics dude who might be able to help find the answer. No secrets, I don't know the answer but the language nerd in me is dying to know now.

  • dayday 9,612 Posts
    Check your PMs for a resource.



    haha, I guess Boogaloo is a secret...

    What I want to know is how it became a dance on the west coast.

    Just a linguistics dude who might be able to help find the answer. No secrets, I don't know the answer but the language nerd in me is dying to know now.

    it just seemed kind of odd so I cracked a joke. no worries.

  • this book definitely covers it but i read it some years ago and cant recall what it said:

    it was a good book.

  • ReynaldoReynaldo 6,054 Posts
    This is interesting:
    "The boogaloo is, or was, one of the thousand dances the land was full of in the 1960s, enumerated in inventory songs such as James Brown's "There Was a Time" and the Isley Brothers' "Nobody But Me": the skate, the swim, the pony, the monkey, the camelwalk, the shing-a-ling. Arthur Kempton notes that it made its debut as the title of a million-selling but faintly remembered 1965[/b] release ['Boo-ga-loo'] by the Chicago duo Tom and Jerrio" (Sante, 2003).

    this book definitely covers it but i read it some years ago and cant recall what it said:

    it was a good book.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    I'm aware of the Kempton book but I'm also inclined NOT to give it too much weight since, for Kempton's purposes, he's trying to claim the word firmly within an African American context while barely acknowledging that it was an entire (and quite popular) genre unto itself within the Latin world. That either suggests that he knows little about Latin boogaloo or merely dismisses it as unrelated to his argument - neither of which sits comfortably to me.

    Luc Sante's review of Kempton's book states:

    "The boogaloo outlasted many of its competitor dances, or at least its name did, even making the transition into Spanglish as bugal??."

    Well, that's not exactly right from what I've seen. "Boogaloo" - spelled as boogaloo and not bugalu - was already in the Latin music lexicon as early as 1965 from what Reynaldo noted with the Valentin LP. And frankly, out of the different Latin albums I've seen, the spelling of "bugalu" is in the distinct minority. Most albums use the original "boogaloo" spelling to indicate the musical style. I don't know if this is an English convention that only appears on U.S. releases of the album but I also have Latin records from South America that refer to the dance as "boogaloo" and not in the Spanglish "bugalu" version.

    Indeed, if the boogaloo did "outlast many of its competitor dances" I'd argue that it did so BECAUSE of Latin boogaloo's popularity. The latter doesn't seem to me like some random offshoot, rather it basically took up the term (which might have originated with Tom and Jerrio and, if so, that'd be worth noting) and made its own.

    What I'd also like to figure out is how boogaloo jumped over to jazz in the last '60s as a distinctly different style than the Latin sound.

  • SoulOnIceSoulOnIce 13,027 Posts
    "Boogaloo" - spelled as boogaloo and not bugalu - was already in the Latin music lexicon as early as 1965 from what Reynaldo noted with the Valentin LP.

    For the record, the Valentin LP above spells it "Bugaloo"

    And, although Jerry-O (who is the artist behind "Tom & Jerrio")
    was an important artist on the Chicago soul scene, he is hardly
    known as a creator of trends, more of a follower - for what that's worth.
    I suppose he may have created "soul boogaloo" by bringing the Latin craze
    into the soul market.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Reynaldo or anyone:

    Can anyone track down WHEN Valetin's album dropped in 1965?

    I found this on another website:

    http://www.chancellorofsoul.com/jerryo.html
    " It was 1965. A new dance craze was sweeping the nation. A dance that originated from the Latino communities of the Bronx and East Harlem, New York. The symbolic rhythms of West Africa, the improvisation of jazz and a repertoire of Cuban styled up tempo dance music, created elements of a power musical substance called, 'Latin-soul'.
    While this new wave was seeping into souls of music aficionados, the dance that evolved
    from those pulsating rhythms was dubbed the ???bugalu??? (in Spanish) 'boogaloo' (in English).
    Capitalizing on its success was a gentleman from St??? Louis named Jerry-O.


    Born Jerry Jerome Murray on October 1939, Jerry worked as a promoter and dj in Chicago before his travels to Detroit in the early 60???s. He formed a band and later teamed with Robert ???Tommy Dark??? Tharp formerly from the Chicago group, the Ideals and created dance / singing act billed as Tom & Jerrio.


    After witnessing kids demonstrating the boogaloo dance at Herb 'The Kool Gent' Kent (WVON-AM) record hop, the duo recorded a single entitled, ???Boogaloo??? b/w ???Boomerang??? on the ABC-Paramount label. In the spring of 1965, the song charted No. 11 on Billboard???s R&B singles, the week ending June 5, 1965."

    This suggests that Tom and Jerry-O took "boogaloo" from the Latin dance, not the other way around.

    The plot thickens.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    This comes from Juan Flores who has, from what I've found, the most extensive history of boogaloo (Latin) written in article/book form. This might help settle some of the mystery:

    "Clearly, Latin boogaloo was similarly implicated in the prevailing dance crazes and pop categories in its time a few years later. Though there is no certainty as to its place of origin -- Chicago and New York being the main contenders -- it is established that the boogaloo was "the most successful new dance of 1965-66," the very years of the emergence of Latin boogaloo, quickly overshadowing the Jerk, the Twine, and the Monkey of the previous season.(7) The first of the many boogaloo records, according to this version, was "Boo-Ga-Loo" by the Chicago dance/comedy/singing duo Tom and Jerrio, who got the idea from seeing the dance done at a record hop. "The record, released on ABC, was a huge, million-selling hit for the pair in April 1965." There followed a slew of boogaloo recordings, including the Flamingos' "Boogaloo Party," many of which became moderate hits on the soul and funk markets. Another account of black boogaloo, less oriented toward city of origin and pop charts and more toward musical force, identifies the quintessential sound as that of classic soul tunes like "Mustang Sally" and "In the Midnight Hour," both of which were made popular by Wilson Pickett. It was Pickett, too, who recorded the huge 1967 hit "Funky Broadway." Whether boogaloo is defined by these recordings, some more memorable than others, or the peculiar dance move, which "had a totally new look compared to previous dances, and its popularity crossed over to whites,"(8) it is clear that boogaloo was the foremost name for funky soul music at that moment in its history, and that Latin boogaloo took its name and direct crossover impulse from that immediate source. Though closer musically to its African-American namesake than was "El Watusi," the same process of mass popularity through association occurs, on a far more influential scale, with Latin boogaloo."

    In other words, boogaloo IS of African American origin.

  • SoulOnIceSoulOnIce 13,027 Posts
    I'm still not convinced the word itself is not
    of Latin-American origin. I tend to believe "bugalu"
    came first and was made into "Boo-ga-Loo" by Jerry-o
    when crossing it over to the soul/pop scene.

    Anyway, here is an excellent article on the origins
    of Bugalu/Boogaloo:

    http://www.buscasalsa.com/Cha-Cha-with-A-Backbeat-Songs-and

  • I'm not convinced the word "boogaloo"/"bugalu" started in 1965.

    African-American R&B songwriter Kent Harris recorded two singles for Crest Records in 1956 under the name "Boogaloo & the Gallant Crew." These songs, however, were novelty rhythm & blues, no real relation to Latin music.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    I'm still not convinced the word itself is not
    of Latin-American origin. I tend to believe "bugalu"
    came first and was made into "Boo-ga-Loo" by Jerry-o
    when crossing it over to the soul/pop scene.

    Anyway, here is an excellent article on the origins
    of Bugalu/Boogaloo:

    http://www.buscasalsa.com/Cha-Cha-with-A-Backbeat-Songs-and

    Yeah - that's the Juan Flores chapter I quoted from. He suggests the term originates out of Black dance not Latin but then got picked up by Latin artists.

  • pjl2000xlpjl2000xl 1,795 Posts
    I'm still not convinced the word itself is not
    of Latin-American origin. I tend to believe "bugalu"
    came first and was made into "Boo-ga-Loo" by Jerry-o
    when crossing it over to the soul/pop scene.

    Anyway, here is an excellent article on the origins
    of Bugalu/Boogaloo:

    http://www.buscasalsa.com/Cha-Cha-with-A-Backbeat-Songs-and

    Yeah - that's the Juan Flores chapter I quoted from. He suggests the term originates out of Black dance not Latin but then got picked up by Latin artists.
    out of curiosity, what is this info for? blog, article? I dig all things boogaloo so whats good?

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Right now, it's for personal interest with a potential for greater expansion into research.

    What's striking about the boogaloo is that it's this incredibly important moment in American music where Latin dance and American R&B meet and intertwine. It's certainly not the first time this happens - it's no surprise that a lot of boogaloo draws on the kind of fusions that Latin jazz wrought a decade prior (ala "Manteca" ---> "El Pito") but as a popular music/dance style, boogaloo can be seen as the precursor to a lot of musics that would follow, especially in how funk music incorporates the clave, Afro-Cubanizes and creates many of the breakbeats that in turn become adopted by proto-hip-hop DJs. I'm not suggesting that boogaloo --> directly to hip-hop, but it's part of hip-hop's heritage with little question.

    Yet despite this, there's VERY little research that's been done on the boogaloo. Juan Flores article, originally published in 1999, later included in his book "From Bomba to Hip-Hop" (2002) is practically the only thoroughly researched example I can find. Given my work with Joe Bataan, I'm naturally interested to learn more. I'm not in a position (geographically) to really chase after it full-scale but I want to start putting together some information just to see what turns up. Tracing the term's etymology seemed like a good place to start.

  • My guess is that the actual name came about by way of a description of the music. In the same way that the term "reggae" or "ska" was originally used to describe the relevant guitar sound in that type of music - I reckon "boogaloo" describes the repeating melody patterns /loops in those types of records. You can imagine the musicians saying "play that boo-ga-loo sound". I seriously don't think it's anything deeper than that !

    BTW - I didn't think Bobby Valentin's Young Man was as early as 65....was Fania actually going then? I'd always put the initial starting point of "latin soul" at 66 - with the earliest hits from Joe Cuba, etc on the traditional latin labels - Tico / Allegre which then inspired the brand new labels in NY - Fania / Cotique/ Speed.

    Don't think there was 2 years between Young Man and the Let's Turn On LP - and that was late 67 at least (early 68?)....In fact was the Batman TV series around as early as 65 (seeing as they did Neal Heftis' theme on the LP)..?

    I'll check with Dean (Rudland) who's been involved with all the Fania Catalogue re-releases/paperwork, etc (jammy b**tard!)

    GOOD TOPIC OLI !!

  • ReynaldoReynaldo 6,054 Posts


    BTW - I didn't think Bobby Valentin's Young Man was as early as 65....was Fania actually going then? I'd always put the initial starting point of "latin soul" at 66 - with the earliest hits from Joe Cuba, etc on the traditional latin labels - Tico / Allegre which then inspired the brand new labels in NY - Fania / Cotique/ Speed.

    Don't think there was 2 years between Young Man and the Let's Turn On LP - and that was late 67 at least (early 68?)....In fact was the Batman TV series around as early as 65 (seeing as they did Neal Heftis' theme on the LP)..?


    GOOD TOPIC OLI !!
    From the Official Fania Website:

    Fania was founded in New York City in the year 1964 by Italian-American lawyer Jerry Masucci and the Dominican born composer-bandleader Johnny Pacheco. Their shared passion for good music and innovation would turn Fania Records into the ideal birthplace for a new style of Latin music.

    Fania got its name from an old Cuban song by the sonero (singer) Reinaldo Bola??o. A version of the song was included in Fania???s first record release, the excellent Ca??onazo (Cannon Fire, 1964, [Fania 325]) by Johnny Pacheco.
    [...]
    The second album released under the Fania imprint was Larry Harlow???s 1965 Heavy Smoking [Fania 331]. The record???s modern take on traditional afro-Caribbean music served as the template for what soon would come to be known as the Fania Sound.
    Young Man With A Horn is Fania 332.

  • DrWuDrWu 4,021 Posts
    According to Robert Pruter's Chicago Soul[/b] the first Boogaloo record is Tom and Jerrio's (aka Robert Dark and Jerry Murray) Boo-Ga-Loo in April of 65. According to Dark they saw the dance at Herb Kent's record store in Times Square. Record sold a million but Gordy sued them for copyright infringment and they made no money. The followed up with "Great-Goo-Ga-Moo-Ga" and (Papa Chew) Do the Boogaloo". Both failed and they broke up. Jerry later did Karate Boogaloo in '67 and "Funky Boogaloo" in '68.

    According to this book Boogaloo really took off in the Puerto Rican community in '68 (source for that is John Storm Roberts' The Latin Tinge[/b].

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    According to Robert Pruter's Chicago Soul[/b] the first Boogaloo record is Tom and Jerrio's (aka Robert Dark and Jerry Murray) Boo-Ga-Loo in April of 65. According to Dark they saw the dance at Herb Kent's record store in Times Square. Record sold a million but Gordy sued them for copyright infringment and they made no money. The followed up with "Great-Goo-Ga-Moo-Ga" and (Papa Chew) Do the Boogaloo". Both failed and they broke up. Jerry later did Karate Boogaloo in '67 and "Funky Boogaloo" in '68.

    According to this book Boogaloo really took off in the Puerto Rican community in '68 (source for that is John Storm Roberts' The Latin Tinge[/b].

    I'd question Roberts' dating (I've read his book, by the way): "Bang Bang" becomes a MILLION SELLER in 1966/7, Fania is already jumping all over boogaloo tracks by '67. Seems strange that it wouldn't be until 68 that the trend would become big in the PR community in NYC when it sounds like it was already big prior to that.

  • DrWuDrWu 4,021 Posts
    According to Robert Pruter's Chicago Soul[/b] the first Boogaloo record is Tom and Jerrio's (aka Robert Dark and Jerry Murray) Boo-Ga-Loo in April of 65. According to Dark they saw the dance at Herb Kent's record store in Times Square. Record sold a million but Gordy sued them for copyright infringment and they made no money. The followed up with "Great-Goo-Ga-Moo-Ga" and (Papa Chew) Do the Boogaloo". Both failed and they broke up. Jerry later did Karate Boogaloo in '67 and "Funky Boogaloo" in '68.

    According to this book Boogaloo really took off in the Puerto Rican community in '68 (source for that is John Storm Roberts' The Latin Tinge[/b].

    I'd question Roberts' dating (I've read his book, by the way): "Bang Bang" becomes a MILLION SELLER in 1966/7, Fania is already jumping all over boogaloo tracks by '67. Seems strange that it wouldn't be until 68 that the trend would become big in the PR community in NYC when it sounds like it was already big prior to that.

    I agree that the 68 time frame seems wrong but the april 65 dating of T&J's effort is pretty hard to ignore. To my ears Boo-ga-loo sounds like black slang in the tradition of oogum-boogum etc.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts


    I agree that the 68 time frame seems wrong but the april 65 dating of T&J's effort is pretty hard to ignore. To my ears Boo-ga-loo sounds like black slang in the tradition of oogum-boogum etc.

    Yes, I'd agree with that too. Eespecialy if Tom and Jerry-O named the song off of a dance they saw in Chicago, I'm assuming the youth there were largely African American vs. Latino.

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,690 Posts
    How about a contraction of like "Boogie All a you" or something. Caller/MC at a dance.



  • Fania got its name from an old Cuban song by the sonero (singer) Reinaldo Bola??o. A version of the song was included in Fania???s first record release, the excellent Ca??onazo (Cannon Fire, 1964, [Fania 325]) by Johnny Pacheco.
    [...]
    The second album released under the Fania imprint was Larry Harlow???s 1965 Heavy Smoking [Fania 331]. The record???s modern take on traditional afro-Caribbean music served as the template for what soon would come to be known as the Fania Sound. Young Man With A Horn is Fania 332.

    I could swear I've seen Fanias #326-330 before. I believe a couple of them were Pacheco albums. Aren't there pics of them in that Fania Wax Poetics article (#3?).

    Also, does anyone know when the Pete Rodriguez Remo lp with the boogaloo track came out? I thought that was earlier than his Alegre stuff, like late 1965 or so. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
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