"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (also called "The Magic Song") is a novelty song, written in 1948 by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston. It was introduced in the 1950 film Cinderella, performed by actress Verna Felton.
Ilene Woods and The Woodsmen with Harold Mooney and His Orchestra recorded it in Hollywood on October 26, 1949. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 31-00138B and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog numbers B 9970, SG 2371, HM 3755 and JM 2678.
A recording by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters was the most popular. It was recorded on November 7, 1949 and released by RCA Victor Records as a 78 rpm single (catalog number 20-3607-B) and as a 45rpm single (catalog number 47-3113-B). The flip side was "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes". The recording reached number 14 on the Billboard chart. The same single was released in the United Kingdom by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as a 78rpm single (catalog number B 9961). It was also released with catalogue numbers HN 2730, X 7279, SAB 8 and IP 615.
Another recording, by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae, was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 782. The record first reached the Billboard charts on December 16, 1949 and lasted 7 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 19. It was backed with "Echoes" on the flip side.
On the Cash Box Best-Selling Record charts, where all versions were combined, the song reached number 7.
The lyrics of the song, as with the title, are composed nearly entirely of nonsense. The Cinderella LP insert lists the lyrics as follows:
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo Put 'em together and what have you got bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo It'll do magic believe it or not bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Salagadoola means mechicka boolaroo But the thingmabob that does the job is bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo Put 'em together and what have you got bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
The 1948 recording, however, has several extra English lines that were not used in the 1950 Disney version, including: "If your mind is in a dither, and your heart is in a haze, I'll haze your dither, and dither your haze, with a magic phrase.", and "if you're chased around by trouble, and followed by a jinx, I'll jinx your trouble, and trouble your jinx, in less than forty winks." The tempo of the various recordings also differs widely.
Parodies and puns
Akira Toriyama named three characters in his Dragon Ball series named after this song. The characters are the evil wizard named Bibbidi, his son Bobbidi, and the powerful demon Bibbidi created, Majin Boo.
The song is parodied on the Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain episode "Narfily Ever After", a parody of Cinderella.
A parody version recorded by Mickey Katz is entitled "The Bubbe, the Baby, and You".
This phrase is often referenced in other Disney stories - mostly when magic is being used. For example, in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, and also in the Hercules TV series, in the 'one Saturday morning episodes,' Episode 12: "Hercules and the Gorgon."
The popular radio show "My Favorite Husband" episode which aired on July 27, 1950 makes fun of the nonsense words of this song. The title of the episode is "Liz Writes A Song".
Shrek 2 features a parody of the song, sung by Fiona's fairy godmother.
The phrase "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" goes back at least to the story "Bubnoff and the Devil" by Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883). In this story, the devil's daughter is named Bibbidibobbidibu. This story, as adapted by Marvin Kaye, appears in Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, Doubleday, 1985. (This may have been Kaye's borrowing from the song, however; http://rvb.ru/turgenev/01text/vol_01/04unpublished/0100.htm has the daughter's name as Бабебибобу - "babebibobu").
- Cinderella: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (CD Liner booklet). Various Artists. Walt Disney Records. 2012. p. 4. D001825700.
- Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.