Skip to main content


June 2024
1min read

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five: The leader looms over banjoist Johnny St. Cyr, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, trombonist Kid Ory, and pianist Lil Hardin, Armstrong’s second wife. A novelty tune called “Heebie Jeebies” was an early hit under Armstrong’s own name. While recording it, in November 1926, he is supposed to have dropped the sheet of paper on which the lyrics were written out, improvised nonsense syllables, and thereby revolutionized jazz singing just as he was transforming jazz playing.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.