Song originally published in 1938, by which time it had already been known for some years. It dates back to at least 1918 and appears to have been sung widely in London on November 11 of that year, Armistice Night, at the end of the First World War. The 1938 version was attributed to Bert Lee, Harris Weston and I. Taylor.
The song became popular in English public houses and was particularly associated with Cockney culture. During the Second World War it was performed frequently by Elsie and Doris Waters. It was also later performed on television by Noel Harrison and Petula Clark singing as a duo.
The expression "knees up" came to mean a party or a dance. Originally, the phrase referred to the position of the woman in sexual intercourse.
During the radio programme 'Jammin'', broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 31 August 2006, Kim was invited to perform this song in the style of Marilyn Monroe. She combined the song with a few lines from Chas & Dave's 'The Sideboard Song'.