The Hully Gully is a type of unstructured line dance often considered to have originated in the sixties, but is also mentioned some forty years earlier as a dance common in the black juke joints in the first part of the twentieth century. In its modern form it consisted of a series of "steps" that are called out by the MC. Each step was relatively simple and easy to execute; however, the challenge was to keep up with the speed of each step.
The phrase "Hully Gully" or "Hull da Gull" comes from a folk game in which a player shakes a handful of nuts or seeds and asks his opponent "Hully Gully, how many?"
The Hully Gully was started by Frank Rocco at the Cadillac Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. In 1959 The Olympics sang the song "Hully Gully", which involved no physical contact at all. The same tune appeared a little over a year later in a song by the Marathons, entitled "Peanut Butter", which was later used for the Peter Pan Peanut Butter commercial during the 1980s. Tim Morgan sang different lyrics to the song "Peanut Butter" as well, however, only mentioning the Skippy" brand. There was another song about the dance by the Dovells, entitled "Hully Gully Baby". The Jive Five had a hit called "Hully Gully Callin' Time"; Ike & Tina Turner had a song in their repertoire known as "If You Can Hully Gully (I Can Hully Gully Too)". Ed Sullivan mentioned the Cadillac Hotel as "Home of the Hully Gully" on his weekly show, featuring some dancers from Frank Rocco's revue. Known as "Mr. Hully Gully", Rocco then toured America (including the 1964 New York World's Fair--he danced it with Goldie Hawn) and Europe, where over the next year he taught the dance at the NATO Base in Naples, Italy, in Rome, and all over Europe.
In Popular Culture
An example of the Hully Gully can be seen performed by John Belushi in the film The Blues Brothers.
In The Wanderers by Richard Price, the Hully Gully is enacted.
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs' 1965 hit "Wooly Bully" was originally called "Hully Gully", but the band could not record it under that name due to the prior existence of a recorded song with that title. In addition, the speed of the beats did not fit the steps of the Hully Gully.
The Portuguese band Conjunto Académico João Paulo had a 1965 hit with the song Hully Gully do Montanhês (English: Mountain Man's Hully Gully)