Hello! Ma Baby

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Original sheet-music cover from 1899

"Hello! Ma Baby" is a Tin Pan Alley song written in 1899 by the team of Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson ("Howard and Emerson"). Its subject is a man who has a girlfriend he knows only through the telephone; it was the first well-known song to refer to the device.[1] The song was first recorded by Arthur Collins on Edison 5470.[2]

It was originally a "coon song", with African-American caricatures on the sheet music and "coon" references in the lyrics. The music also features similar rhythms to the short piano piece "Le Petit Nègre" by Claude Debussy from 1909.

Its chorus is far better known than its verse, as the introductory song in the famous Warner Bros. cartoon One Froggy Evening (1955), sung by the character later dubbed Michigan J. Frog and high-stepping in the style of Bert Williams:

Hello! ma baby
Hello! ma honey
Hello! ma ragtime gal
Send me a kiss by wire
Baby, ma heart's on fire!
If you refuse me
Honey, you'll lose me
Then you'll be left alone
Oh, baby, telephone
And tell me I'm your own!
"Hello! Ma Baby" sung by Arthur Collins in 1899.

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The chorus also appears in Mel Brook's Spaceballs, where a chest-bursting alien sings and high-steps a la Michigan J. Frog down a space-diner's counter, prompting the main characters to leave.

In Charles Ives's composition Central Park in the Dark, "In the Good Old Summer Time," it is quoted frequently.


  1. ^ Fuld, James J. (1985). The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular and Folk (in English) (3rd ed.). New York: Dover Publications. p. 272. ISBN 0-486-24857-7. OCLC 11289867. 
  2. ^ "Collected Works of Arthur Collins part 1 : Arthur Collins : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. 2001-03-10. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 

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