“Hot Diggity” is what I call a cross-over song. But not from, say, country to pop, but instead from pre-rock and roll to full blown rock and roll. Perry Como was certainly one of the establishment. He had been around since the Forties and had his own television show during much of the Fifties. If you’re my age or close to it, you can’t help but remember Perry Como. They called him “Mister C’ and it seemed like he always wore a cardigan sweater on the show.
He recorded “Hot Diggity” in 1956 and it was an immediate hit, I think mainly because it’s a cute song that you can tap your toe to. The kids liked it (I know I did) and the parents liked it. Plus Como was a big name, so what he recorded almost always hit the charts.
“Hot Diggity” was written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning. The two of them wrote many hit records during the Fifties and early Sixties. Perry Como recorded the song at Webster Hall in New York City. Mitchell Ayres Orchestra is backing him up and the Ray Charles Singers do the vocal back-ups. The melody is based on a work from 1883 called “Espana,” written by Emmanuel Chabrier, who was a French Romantic composer.
The term “Hot Diggity” is an old vaudeville term and was made famous by the great Al Jolson. In 1928, it’s reported that Jolson said “Hot diggity dog! Hot kitty! Hot pussycat! Didn’t I tell you you’d love it?” after singing the song “There’s a Rainbow Round My Shoulder” during one of his concerts. And presto, the term was born.
The Perry Como song hit number one in March of 1956 but remained there just one week.
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