Down by the Bay

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"Down by the Bay"
Writer(s) Traditional
Recorded by Raffi

"Down by the Bay" is a traditional children's song. A famous version was performed by Raffi and appears on his 1976 album Singable Songs for the Very Young. It is possibly of Greek origin: a traditional Cephalonian kantada song called "Yialo Yialo" has the same melody. In recent years, the song had gained popularity as a campfire song among the Scouting Movement in Britain.


The song lyrics are usually as follows:

"Down by the bay,
Where the watermelons grow,
Back to my home,
I dare not go,
For if I do,
My mother will say:"

Usually the insertion lyrics follow some kind of variation of the question "Did you ever see a _____, _____ing a _____?", with rhyming words. For example:

  • "Did you ever see a snake, baking a cake?"
  • "Did you ever see a cat, wearing a hat?"
  • "Did you ever see a whale, with a polka dot tail?"
  • Did you ever see a bear combing her hair?

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song "Polka Dot Tail" from rock band Ween's 1997 album The Mollusk contains lyrics taken from "Down by the Bay," including original variations on the pattern.
  • The song is sung on two occasions by Nellie in the 1995 film Angela written and directed by Rebecca Miller
  • Sillywhim, the Jingleheimers and the Fruggy Frogs sang this song in "Wee Sing in Sillyville".
  • In the feature film The Guns of Navarone
  • A version of the song is featured on the album Diego, Dora & Friends' Animal Jamboree, performed by Dora and her cousin Diego of the series Dora the Explorer.
  • Around the beginning of "Franklin Goes to Day Camp" on Franklin
  • On the episode "The Berenstain Bears Go To Camp" of the animated television series The Berenstain Bears
  • The Barney and the Backyard Gang video "Rock with Barney" features puppets and the lyrics, "Did you ever see a bee with a sunburnt knee?", "Did you ever see a goose kissing a moose?", "Did you ever see a whale with a polka-dot tail?", "Did you ever see a bear try to curl somebody's hair?", "Did you ever see a guy playing tennis with a fly?", "Did you ever see a green dog jumping on a yellow log?", "Did you ever see a rhino kissing a dino?", and "Did you ever see some friends having fun that never ends?".