A common misconception among the general public was that the phrase flat foot floogie (with a floy floy) in the song's lyrics meant "prostitute with a disease." In fact, it was a slang term for a sexually transmitted disease that could lead to flat feet.
The song was written and recorded by Slim Gaillard, Leroy “Slam” Stewart and Bud Green. It was a hit in 1938 and sparked a dance craze. It was recorded by many of the big names of the swing era: Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Fats Waller and Nat King Cole.
It was also recorded by the Jacksons in their 1970s variety show and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain performed it as well. It has also been covered by Nina Hagen on her 2006 album Irgendwo auf der Welt.
Floogie is an American slang word meaning prostitute or disreputable woman. It was often used in the 20th century to describe promiscuous women, but the phrase became a general term for any woman who was considered disreputable or untrustworthy.
In the 1930s it was also slang for venereal disease. The most common type of syphilis was called tabes dorsalis and it was believed that those who were unprotected during their sex would eventually get the disease, which would result in flat feet.
The song was a big hit and set off a dance craze, so much so that the sheet music for the song was placed in a time capsule at the 1939 World's Fair. Today the song is still played in casinos and in other public places, such as on a radio station in Atlantic City.