"Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" is a popular song written in 1892 by British songwriter Harry Dacre with the well-known chorus: "Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I'm half crazy / all for the love of you", ending with the words "a bicycle built for two". The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII. It is the earliest song sung using computer speech synthesis by the IBM 704 in 1961, a feat which was referenced in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged import duty. His friend William Jerome, another songwriter, remarked lightly: "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty." Dacre was so taken with the phrase "bicycle built for two" that he soon used it in a song. That song, Daisy Bell, first became successful in a London music hall, in a performance by Katie Lawrence. Tony Pastor was the first to sing it in the United States. Its success in America began when Jennie Lindsay brought down the house with it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery early in 1892.
There is a flower within my heart, Daisy, Daisy!
Planted one day by a glancing dart,
Planted by Daisy Bell!
Whether she loves me or loves me not,
Sometimes it's hard to tell;
Yet I am longing to share the lot
Of beautiful Daisy Bell!
Give me your answer, do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two!
We will go "tandem" as man and wife, Daisy, Daisy!
"Ped'ling" away down the road of life, I and my Daisy Bell!
When the road's dark we can both despise P'liceman and "lamps" as well;
There are "bright lights" in the dazzling eyes Of beautiful Daisy Bell!
I will stand by you in "wheel" or woe, Daisy, Daisy!
You'll be the bell(e) which I'll ring you know! Sweet little Daisy Bell!
You'll take the "lead" in each "trip" we take, Then if I don't do well;
I will permit you to use the brake, My beautiful Daisy Bell!
In technology and culture
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2017)
Computing and technology
- In 1961, an IBM 704 at Bell Labs was programmed to sing "Daisy Bell" in the earliest demonstration of computer speech synthesis. This recording has been included in the United States National Recording Registry.
- In 1974, auditory researchers used the melody of "Daisy Bell" for the first demonstration of "pure dichotic" (two-ear only) perception: they encoded the melody in a stereophonic signal in such a way that it could be perceived when listening with both ears but not with either ear alone.
- In 1985, Christopher C. Capon created a Commodore 64 program named "Sing Song Serenade", which caused the Commodore 1541 floppy disk drive to emit the tune of "Daisy Bell" directly from its hardware by rapidly moving the read/write head.
- In 1999, a piece of computer software called BonziBuddy sang Daisy Bell if the user asked it to sing. The green parrot later became a purple gorilla in version 3.0.
- Microsoft's personal assistant, Cortana, may sing the first line of Daisy when asked to sing a song.
- Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke witnessed the IBM 704 demonstration during a trip to Bell Labs in 1962 and referred to it in the 1968 novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the HAL 9000 computer sings "Daisy Bell" during its gradual deactivation.
- Oliver Reed sings the song "Daisy Bell" in the film Triple Echo 1972.
- In The Time Traveler's Wife (2009), Alba and her father Henry sing the song "Daisy Bell" in an attempt to stop him from traveling through time while he is still using a wheelchair from a recent accident.
- The Nursery Rhymes Collections Volume 2 (2011) covered a version of the song.
- On May 3, 2014, an album was released composed entirely of covers of "Daisy Bell" entitled The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell, in conjunction with Mark Ryden's exhibit "The Gay 90s". The album features covers of "Daisy Bell" by Katy Perry, Tyler, the Creator, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Nick Cave, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Wall of Voodoo's Stan Ridgway, Danny Elfman, and others. Profits from the album went to the nonprofit Little Kids Rock.
- The tune was played as the lead-in to Aunt Daisy's radio broadcasts in New Zealand, which ran from 1930 until her death in 1963.
- Carroll, Leslie (3 June 2008). Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through the Extramarital Adventures That Rocked the British Monarchy. Edward VII and Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick 1861–1938: NAL Trade. ISBN 978-0-451-22398-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
- "Local history: The socialist socialite". BBC. 22 May 2009.
- Ewen, David (1966). American Popular Songs. Random House. ISBN 0-394-41705-4.
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890–1954. Record Research. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- "The Sounds of Fighting Men, Howlin' Wolf and Comedy Icon Among 25 Named to the National Recording Registry". Loc.gov. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Kubovy, M.; Cutting, J. E.; McGuire, R. M. . (1974). "Hearing with the Third Ear: Dichotic Perception of a Melody without Monaural Familiarity Cues". Science. 186 (4160): 272–274. Bibcode:1974Sci...186..272K. doi:10.1126/science.186.4160.272. PMID 4413641. S2CID 8867839.
- "[CSDb] - Sing Song Serenade by Christopher C. Capon (1985)". Commodore 64 Scene Database. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
- O’Dell, Cary. ""Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)"" (PDF). loc.gov. Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Martin, Jim. "Amaze your friends with these 45 funny Cortana responses on Windows 10". Tech Advisor. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- Sri San (2015-08-07), Daisy Daisy, retrieved 2016-10-24
- "Background: Bell Labs Text-to-Speech Synthesis". bell-labs.com. Lucent Technologies. March 1997. Archived from the original on 7 April 2000.
- "Daisy Daisy". Nurseryrhymescollections.com. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Williams, Maxwell (May 2, 2014). "Katy Perry Featured on Pop Artist Mark Ryden's $100 'Gay Nineties' Album (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Basham, Maud Ruby – Biography". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
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- Johns Hopkins University (March 30, 2007). "Daisy Bell. Song". Levy Sheet Music Collection, Box 140, Item 090. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- 1894 recording of "Daisy Bell" (MP3)
- Page featuring a recording of "Daisy Bell" sung and played by IBM computers at Bell Laboratories in the early 1960s (see last track on side 2 labeled "Synthesized computer speech demonstration (1963)")