Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)

"Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)" (also "The Flat Foot Floogee") is a 1938 jazz song, written by Slim Gaillard, Slam Stewart, and Bud Green, and performed by Gaillard and Stewart as Slim & Slam.

""Flat Foot Floogie (With a Floy Floy)""
Single by Slim & Slam
B-side"Chinatown, My Chinatown"
ReleasedFebruary 17, 1938 (1938-02-17)[1]
RecordedNew York City
Songwriter(s)Slim Gaillard, Slam Stewart, Bud Green

"Flat Foot Floogie" was Slim & Slam's first and biggest hit song.[2] Their version was one of the top records of 1938, peaking at number two on US charts.


Bulee "Slim" Gaillard (1911–1991) and Leroy "Slam" Stewart (1914–1987) met in New York City in 1936 and formed a duo, performing together on the radio and in 52nd Street clubs, with Gaillard on guitar and vocals and Stewart on bass. They attracted radio pioneer Martin Block to manage them and he arranged a contract with Vocalion. On February 17, 1938 Slim and Slam recorded "Flat Foot Floogie" (Vocalion 4021).[1]

Gaillard sold the publishing rights to "Flat Foot Floogie" to Green Brothers and Knight for $250, and writing credit was shared with Bud Green.[3][a] Shortly thereafter, Benny Goodman & His Orchestra played it on the Camel Caravan radio show, launching its rise to popularity.[4]

Slim & Slam's record peaked at number 2 on Billboard charts[6] and at number 5 on Your Hit Parade.[7][b]


The lyrics are brief and are dominated by the repetition of the title words and the nonsense refrain, "floy-doy, floy-doy, floy-doy". The original lyric, recorded in January 1938, was "flat foot floozie with a floy floy"; Vocalion, however, objected to the word "floozie",[3] meaning a sexually promiscuous woman, or a prostitute. The second recording in February changed the word to "floogie". In the second part of the title phrase, "floy floy" was slang for a venereal disease, but the term was not widely known and failed to catch the attention of censors.[8] It was regarded as nonsense and came to have positive connotations as a consequence of the song.[9]

Other versionsEdit

Many artists covered the song in 1938: Wingy Manone on May 23; Nat Gonella; Benny Goodman & His Orchestra on May 31 (Victor 25871);[10] Louis Armstrong with The Mills Brothers on June 10 (Decca 1876);[11] as well as Woody Herman and Count Basie. In Europe, Fats Waller recorded it in London while on tour (HMV BD5399), an instrumental version was recorded by jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (Decca F-6776)[12] and the Dutch singing duo Johnny and Jones covered it.

Gaillard recorded "Flat Foot Floogie" again in 1945 for Bel-Tone, with an ensemble that included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jack McVea, one of several songs recorded during the session.[13] Bel-Tone went bankrupt, but the recordings were acquired by Majestic and released in 1946.[c]

The song has continued to be revisited over the years. The Jacksons performed it twice on their 1970s variety show, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has included it in performances,[15] and Nina Hagen covered it on her 2006 album Irgendwo auf der Welt.

In other mediaEdit

In “Three Sappy People” Curly tells Moe and Larry that he is “flat as a floogie” meaning he was broke. The title for the 1938 Three Stooges film, Flat Foot Stooges, is a play on the song's title.[16] The Goodman version of the song is heard in the 1993 film Swing Kids.[17]

It was one of three pieces of music included in the 1938 Westinghouse Time Capsule, along with Finlandia by Jean Sibelius and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa.[18]

Bill Holman's comic strip Smokey Stover contained a reference to the song in its November 26, 1938 edition: "It sounds like flat foot Flanagan with the foo foo." Here, "flat foot" is slang for a police officer; Flanagan is reporting that an arsonist has escaped by burning down the jail.[19]

In the 1939 film Twelve Crowded Hours gangster George Costain (played by Cy Kendall) takes his "guests" to the Floy Floy Club.

The 1980 film Atlantic City featured an aging gangster, played by Burt Lancaster, reminiscing about the heyday of the resort town when "Flatfoot Floogie with the Floy Floy" was a hit song.


  1. ^ According to an account by Gaillard, the $250 was an advance against royalties,[4] but Stewart reported that the duo made little money from the sheet music and that he collected back residuals only after joining ASCAP.[5]
  2. ^ Goodman also charted with the song in 1938, peaking at number 7.
  3. ^ "Dizzy Boogie"/"Flat Foot Floogie", Slim Gaillard Orchestra (Majestic 9002).[14]


  1. ^ a b DeVeaux, Scott Knowles (1999). The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History. University of California Press. p. 537. ISBN 978-0-520-21665-5.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott (2002). "Slim Gaillard". In Bogdanov, V.; et al. (eds.). All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music. Backbeat Books. pp. 454–455. ISBN 978-0-87930-717-2.
  3. ^ a b Birnbaum, Larry (2013). Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8108-8638-4.
  4. ^ a b Shaw, Arnold (1971). 52nd Street, the Street of Jazz. Da Capo Press. pp. 225–226. ISBN 978-0-306-80068-9.
  5. ^ Goldsby, John (2002). The Jazz Bass Book: Technique and Tradition. Backbeat Books. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-87930-716-5.
  6. ^ "Top Songs of 1938". MusicVF. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  7. ^ Tyler, Don (2007). Hit Songs, 1900–1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era. McFarland. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-7864-2946-2.
  8. ^ "52nd Street, NYC: Big City Jazz in the 30s". The Jim Cullum Riverwalk Jazz Collection. Stanford University Libraries, Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  9. ^ Sharkey, Joe (November 30, 2001). "Atlantic City: A Boardwalk, but No Diving Horse". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  10. ^ Abrams, Steven (ed.). "Victor Records in the 25500–25900 series". Online Discographical Project. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  11. ^ Willems, Jos (2006). All of Me: The Complete Discography of Louis Armstrong. Scarecrow Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-8108-5730-8.
  12. ^ Delaunay, Charles (1982). Django Reinhardt. Da Capo Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-306-80171-6.
  13. ^ Koch, Lawrence O. (1988). Yardbird Suite: A Compendium of the Music and Life of Charlie Parker. Popular Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-0-87972-260-9.
  14. ^ Nations, Opal Louis; Tamberg, Randall (April 1999). "Hit/Majestic Records, 'The Mighty Monarch of the Air'" (PDF). Blues & Rhythm (138): 6–10. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
  15. ^ Litweiler, John (June 21, 1989). "Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain Whimsically Runs The Gamut". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  16. ^ Hogan, David J. (2011). Three Stooges FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Eye-Poking, Face-Slapping, Head-Thumping Geniuses. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-55783-932-9.
  17. ^ "Swing Kids". Library of Congress. Film, Video. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  18. ^ Pendray, George Edward (1939). The Story of the Westinghouse Time Capsule. Westinghouse Electric – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ Holman, Bill (November 26, 1938). "Smokey Stover — Fire Escape". Tribune Media Services. Retrieved 8 July 2015.

External linksEdit

  • "Flat Foot Floogie" on The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong, blog by Armstrong historian Ricky Riccardi
  • "Flat Foot Floogee", 1938 rendition by Wingy Manone Orchestra, at the Internet Archive
  • "Flat Foot Floogie" 1938 rendition by Louis Armstrong with the Mills Brothers on vocals, at the Internet Archive