Hop Scotch Polka (Scotch-Hot)

Album: Polka Party (1949)
Charted: 1


  • As explained in The Carl Sigman Songbook, one day in 1949 Gene Rayburn and Dee Finch, deejays on New York's powerhouse WNEW radio station, were weeding out hundreds of records looking for something unusual to play. They came across a tune called 'Scotch Hot,' written early in the century by an eccentric performer named Billy Whitlock. The song was originally recorded on a cylinder by Edison Bell Gramophone Company with a special set of glockenspiel-like musical bells. Whitlock made an acetate recording in 1924, and it went virtually unnoticed until the deejays' discovery. They played the song over and over, and became obsessed with finding Whitlock and updating the number. After searching far and wide, they found the former entertainer in a lonely boarding house in Brixton, England, where he was working as a night watchman. He was ecstatic to have his song revived. Rayburn convinced Carl to write a lyric and the result became known as 'Hop Scotch Polka (Scotch-Hot).' It also earned the distinction of becoming the first song to be published by what later became publishing giant The Richmond Organization (TRO). Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, with Kenny Gardner as vocalist, sent it steaming up the charts, and before long Carl was seen by the whole industry playing hopscotch on the cover of the trade magazine Cashbox. Bob Crosby and Mitch Miller are among those who've since recorded the song.


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