Discovering the Origins of The Bump. Possibly

I may have solved a mystery of history while conducting research for the final installment of The Secret of Their Midnight Tears trilogy, which will debut later this year. I just may have discovered the origin of a dance called, The Bump. The Bump was a very popular dance in the 1970s and one that is very easy to learn. There is the single bump and the double bump; Martha and I prefer the latter, usually to the Commodores, Brick House. (In fact, the Commodores did a song called, “The Bump,” which has a good single-bump beat.)I am amazed, however, by the number of people who can’t do the Bump or have never even seen it before, and so, we will sometimes get requests to demonstrate.

This 50-second Youtube video shows a classic, single bump, which involves bumping your butts on beats 1 & 3. The double-bump is simply bumping on beats 1 & 2. As you may notice, you can do all kinds of styling and bumping with various anatomical areas. Guys, remove wallets, keys, cell phones, etc. before beginning this dance, because ladies have tender hips. Nor is it a competition. You don’t win anything if you bump them all the way to the floor, so be gentle.

Anyway, back to our pursuit of history, the photo below, published in the Winchester Evening Star, September 9, 1944 edition, suggests that The Bump may have its origins in a Bob Hope USO show in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

“While other Leathernecks wait their turn, and unidentified Marine does some fancy jiving with Patty Thomas, dancer with the Bob Hope unit at a South Sea base. The winner of the dancing contest was rewarded with a kiss from Patty.”

(I have no other sources except this photo, which means my standard of proof is pretty much on a par with that set by many media outlets today.)

So, do the Bump! If it’s good enough for the Marine Corps, it’s good enough for all you civilians out there.


About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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4 Responses to Discovering the Origins of The Bump. Possibly

  1. morris w bailey 3rd says:

    the bump was invented by morris bailey jr my dad way before it was a 70’s craze.


    • Thanks so much for commenting! I just watched the 2010 YouTube interview with your dad–what a fascinating guy! It’s always great listening to people who are love what they do. I’d love to know the story behind the song, “The Bump.” It is such a simple step that I imagine that it has been around for some time, as the WWII photo shows, but I wonder what inspired your dad to write the song. Any additional insight would be greatly appreciated!


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