Hot Feet (Wendell Hall) – 1927, with lyric


latest edit: 22 July 2022*


Hot Feet (Wendell Hall) — The earliest recording of the song that I’m aware of is that by its composer and lyricist, Wendell Woods Hall, recorded on 24 February 1927. According to information provided by, the discography of the artist, and other sites, Hall evidently released at least four different recordings he made of the song, recorded on separate dates in the years 1927 and 1928, on three different labels. The four I know about are listed under the image of Columbia 942-D below.

Wendell Hall-1Wendell W. Hall biography:

Wikipedia (English)
Wikipedia (German) — includes discography
All Music
Encyclopedia of Country Music (2012), pp. 633, 634

Wendell W. Hall discography:

Wikipedia (German)
Die Musiktitel von ‘Hall, Wendell’ by Henry König (at

Other sources:

Online Discographical Project (
Roots Vinyl Guide
Encyclopedia of Country Music (2004)


1927-Hot Feet (Hall)-Wendell Hall-Columbia 942-DUkulele Method-Wendell Hall, 1925-d30-px1-c1

Wendell Hall — The recording in the video below is probably one of the following four recordings of the song by Hall:

  • Columbia matrix 143522, take 3 (aka matrix W143522), recorded on 24 February 1927, and issued on Columbia 942-D (1, 2), c/w “Down Kentucky Way,” recorded on the same date
  • Columbia matrix 143522, take 4 (aka matrix W143522), recorded on 24 February 1927, and issued on Columbia 942-D (1, 2), c/w “Down Kentucky Way,” recorded on the same date
  • Champion matrix X0561, recorded on 28 March 1927, and issued on Champion 15259 (1, 2), c/w “I’ve Never Seen a Straight Banana,” recorded by Gordon & Glover
  • Brunswick matrix E27803, recorded on 29 June 1928, and issued on Brunswick 3983 (1, 2), c/w “Oh! Lucindy”

At its page on Columbia matrix 143522 (Columbia 942-D), the Discography of American Historical Recordings lists the following personnel (adapted):

  • Wendell W. Hall – guitar, baritone vocal
  • Carson Robison – guitar
  • Murray Kellner – violin
  • Edward T. King – drums

The fact that the whistling solo** heard in the recording in the first video below is unaccounted for among the credits on the DAHR page suggests that this version might not be one of the two Columbia matrix 143522 takes (3 and 4) that were each, according to DAHR, separately issued under the catalog number Columbia 942-D.

The guitar is one of the instruments that the multi-instrumentalists Hall and Robison each played, and it’s likely that one or both of them played guitar on the Hall recording of “Hot Feet” featured in the video. Nevertheless, I cannot confidently identify any of the instrumentalists, presently, in part because of the uncertainty as to which of the multiple recordings by Hall is represented in the video.

Note also that the credit of Paul Whiteman by the video creator probably refers to another recording in the collection from which this recording was drawn, Odd Numbers of the 1920s. Whiteman did not, to my knowledge, record this song or any song of the title “Hot Feet.”

See the full lyric below the video. During instrumental and instrumental/whistling sections of the recording, clucking sounds, whistling, and improvised verbal vocalizations are heard, the latter including Hall uttering various phrases such as “happy feet,” “I got happy feet,” “happy, happy feet,” and “Get happy,” and repeatedly singing the phrase “Get happy.” I’ve omitted these vocalizations from the lyric transcription.


Hot Feet (Wendell Hall)

verse 1:
I want to tell you about a Charleston dancin’ fool, called Hot Pete
He had a little colored Charleston dancin’ school, in Trot Street
He was gettin’ old and grey
So he thought he’d dance his life away
A brand new dance was born that day in Trot Street,
Hot Pete

Hot feet, fire in the middle
Hot feet, warm as a griddle
Hot feet, sizzlin’ through
Oh, what will I do wacka do

Hot feet, stingin’ like a busy bee
Trot feet, smokin’ like a chim-in-ey
Hot heat, burnin’ terribly
Nearly made a furnace out of me

Hot feet
And what I mean hot, hot, hot, hot
White heat
That’s the way they have got
(From a lotta hotty whatnot trotty trot)

Hot feet, Charleston’s a-doin’ ’em
Shot feet, Black Bottom ruined ’em
Hot Pete, hear ’em yell
Oh, what so hot feet

verse 2:
That was many, many years and years ago,
In Trot Street
But everybody in the town is sure to know
This Hot Pete
You see his statue every place
Every home has pictures of his grace
They got busts of his feet and face in Trot Street,
Hot Pete

(repeat chorus, with improvised additional words)

lyric transcribed by Jim Radcliff on 4 Oct 2015 (latest edit 12 Oct 2015)
The transcription was made from the Wendell Hall recording in the above video, with help from the lyric provided in the Imperial player piano roll in the video below. My transcription differs only slightly from the words in the roll, with the differences largely consisting of normalization of variant spellings of certain words. For example, to my ears Hall sings “about” in line 1, and “colored” in line 2, whereas these two words are given in the scroll as “’bout” and “cullud,” respectively. However, as in the scroll, I’ve replaced the “g” in words ending in “ing” with an apostrophe, and abbreviated “them” as “’em,” to reflect Hall’s colloquial pronunciation of the relevant words.

I have not followed the scroll regarding the compound word “whatnot,” the two parts of which are disjoined as “what not” there. Also, whereas the scroll has the grammatically correct “They’ve got busts” in the final line of the second verse, I’ve transcribed the phrase as “They got busts,” because I think Hall colloquially omits the auxiliary verb “have.”


Imperial Player Piano Roll — 1927

The roll features what appears to be a close transcription of the Wendell Hall lyric, including verses, sung by Hall in the above recording.


Paul Specht and his Orchestra, vocal: Johnny Morris — recorded on 27 April 1927, and issued on Columbia 1186D, c/w “Roll Up the Carpets” ***

The verses are omitted in this version, and the line in the chorus that in the Hall version goes

And what I mean hot, hot, hot, hot

might seem to have been transformed into

And I wanna be hot, hot, hot, hot

but what Morris actually sings is

And a-what I mean hot, hot, hot, hot

One might also point out that the phrase “And what I mean hot” colloquially omits the verb “to be.” In standard English the phrase would be “And what I mean is hot.”



GMW-Riley and Maya-Hot Feet number-2 Oct 2015 (2)-c1 GMW-Riley and Maya-flappers (1)-aired 2 Oct 2015-c1-sh5

GMW-Hot Feet number-2 Oct 2015 (1)

Girl Meets World — from Season 2, Episode 18, “Girl Meets World: Of Terror 2,” which aired on 2 October 2015 as a part of Disney Channel’s Spooktacular weekend. The song is performed (sung and danced to) a few times in the episode. I believe the video below includes all instances, splicing them together, the first beginning at about 51 seconds.

The lyric in the Specht recording features some peculiarities that differentiate it from that in the above Hall recording. The fact that some of the peculiarities of the Specht version lyric are also heard in the Girl Meets World version is telling.

  • The phrase “skiddly bop bop bop” is heard in each version (Specht and GMW) whereas there is nothing remotely like that phrase in the Hall recording.
  • The phrase “burnin’ terribly” in the Hall lyric has been replaced by the unsuitable “burns heavily” in the Specht and GMW versions.
  • The phrase “I wanna be hot” in the GMW version lyric is evidently the result of a mishearing of the phrase “a-what I mean hot” in the Specht version.

The following lyric modification is also present in the Girl Meets World version, an apparent transcription error that I don’t detect in the Specht version:

  • The phrase “trot feet” in the Wendell Hall lyric has been replaced by “drop feet,” a compound noun that is sometimes used in reference to the neuromuscular disorder “foot drop” or “drop foot.”

When I was creating this page, all four of the above modifications of the original lyric that I’ve detected in the GMW version lyric were also present in a transcription of the lyric provided by Bryan Clauson in a comment on this YouTube video featuring the Specht version (published by YouTube user rockingsockings). The presence of the odd “drop feet,” “I wanna be hot…,” and other modifications in both Clauson’s transcription and the GMW version lyric, plus the fact that the date of the comment (“10 months ago,” as of 4 February 2016, or roughly April 2015) preceded the original telecast date of the GMW episode containing the number by several months, combine to strongly suggest that Disney used the flawed Clauson transcription as a basis for the words sung in the GMW “Hot Feet” number.

Despite the mistakes, I want to thank Disney for reviving interest in the song. As for you, Bryan Clauson, I hope you’re getting royalties from Disney for your lyric contributions. [Update: The Clauson transcription in the comments on the video, where it had remained for years, was gone when I looked for it on 6/22/2021.]

Pop quiz: What is the expression used by Maya (at 52 secs) just before she begins to sing and dance, and who is she imitating?


GMW-Hot Feet number-2 Oct 2015 (3)________________________

* This page was originally published here on 26 December 2009 under the title “Hot Feet, 1929.” The page initially featured the 1929 recording by Duke Ellington of the song “Hot Feet” written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, and another song of the same title written by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, which I hadn’t yet dated. This accounts for the date 1929 that appears in the page URL.

Soon after publishing the page I discovered a third song of the same title, though I hadn’t yet dated the song or identified the songwriter, and I consequently changed the page title to “Hot Feet — three different ones.”

In October 2015 I greatly expanded the page, with the focus becoming the Wendell Hall song, after identifying Hall as the songwriter of the earliest, and by far my favorite, of the three songs titled “Hot Feet” featured in the page, and finding a 1927 recording of the song by the author himself. — doc

** On numerous Wendell Hall recordings, such as the following, whistling is performed by Carson Robison:

That might be the case in this Wendell Hall recording of “Hot Feet,” since the “Get happy” chant by Hall and whistling are heard simultaneously during one break. The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2004), p. 452, says of Robison, “His ability to whistle two notes in harmony at the same time was a source of amazement to his listeners.” Robison was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.

I’ve yet to discover any instances of Wendell Hall credited for vocal whistling on a recording. The pages on the Wendell Hall Victor recording of “Whistling the Blues Away” at the Library of Congress National Jukebox and at the Discography of American Historical Recordings, note that, while the label indicates that Carson Robison contributed guitar and (vocal) whistling accompaniment on the recording, Hall provided the baritone vocal and played a “whistle,” as an instrumentalist. This information is supplemented, in the aforementioned LOC and DAHR pages, by reference to a Victor ledger which states that Hall played a “[s]inging whistle” on the recording. The instrument played by Hall on his Victor recording of “Whistling the Blues Away,” and referred to in the ledger as a singing whistle, seems to have been a slide whistle, which is a prominently heard on the recording.

*** credits the recording to “Paul Specht’s Georgians,” though the Columbia 1186D label in the second video containing this recording credits the band as “Paul Specht and his Orchestra.”


There are at least two other notable songs titled “Hot Feet.” One is a 1929 song by the songwriting team of Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. The second is a much later composition by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, written in the 1950s.

Hot Feet (Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields)

Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Orchestra — recorded on 7 March 1929

The recording features scat vocals (male vocalist, unidentified), credited on the label only as “vocal refrain.” I presume Dorothy Fields wrote a lyric for the song, but haven’t found a version including the words yet.


Hot Feet (Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle)

date disagreement:

Gregory and Maurice Hines and other cast members performed “Hot Feet,” a song and tap dance number, in the Broadway musical Eubie! (1979). The number features a song of the same title written by Eubie Blake (music) and Noble Sissle (words) in the 1950s. According to the provider of the following video, the clip shows the Hines brothers, with three others, performing the number at the 33rd Annual Tony Awards in 1979.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hot Feet
    Oct 11, 2015 @ 17:03:53

    She imitates Scooby Doo when she says Ruh Roh

    Liked by 1 person


    • doc
      Oct 11, 2015 @ 19:16:27

      The answer above, by “Hot Feet,” is in response to the following question posed in the text above the Girl Meets World video.

      Pop quiz: What is the expression used by Maya (at 52 secs) just before she begins to sing and dance, and who is she imitating?

      @ Hot Feet,
      You are correct, and the winner. Congratulations! However, years before the expression was used by Scooby Doo, it was commonly uttered by Astro in the cartoon series The Jetsons. The Astro page at Hanna-Barbera Wiki says:

      Astro’s signature expression was “Ruh-roh!” (or “Ruh-roh, Reorge!”), supposedly the canine variant of “Uh-oh!” (expression of dismay). Scooby-Doo, who was also designed by Iwao Takamoto and voiced by Don Messick, had a similar signature expression: “Ruh Roh Raggy!” (Uh-oh, Shaggy!)



  2. Anonymous
    Dec 29, 2020 @ 12:11:19

    I want to be a flapper for Halloween now

    Liked by 1 person


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