Originally, skiffle groups were referred to as Spasm Bands. By the 1920s and 1930s, a form of Skiffle was being played in Louisville and Memphis. Skiffle's roots are also found in the jazz bands of the 1940s and 1950s.
The first use of the name on records was in 1925 by the otherwise unknown Jimmy O'Bryant and his Chicago Skifflers. In 1948 Dan Burley and his Skiffle Boys, led by barrelhouse piano player and journalist Burley, brought together New Orleans bassist Pops Foster, and guitar-playing brothers Brownie and Sticks McGhee.
Skiffle became extremely popular in the UK in the late 1950s. Skiffler Lonnie Donegan had major international success with the Leadbelly song, "Rock Island Line" and the novelty song "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's [sic] Flavor on the Bedpost Over Night?" Other well-known British skiffle groups include The Gin Mill Skiffle Group, and The Quarry Men, who later became the rock band The Beatles.
Mick Jagger was a member of the Barber-Colyer Skiffle Band but claims he didn't really like skiffle. Nonetheless, it was the popularity of simple skiffle music that opened young Britons' eyes to the idea that they could play music and have hit records. The result, several years later, was the musical explosion called the British Invasion.