I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" is a novelty song composed in 1944 (as "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts") by Fred Heatherton, a songwriting pseudonym for a collaboration of English songwriters Harold Elton Box, Desmond Cox and Lewis Ilda. The song was published by Box and Cox Publications (ASCAP).
The song celebrates the coconut shy (coconut toss) at funfairs, and the catchy chorus is the call of the showman "standing underneath the flare" (of gaslight), inviting the public to "Roll up, bowl a ball, a penny a pitch." (In American editions, the line is rendered instead as, "Roll or bowl a ball, a penny a pitch.") The ball is tossed or bowled (as in cricket) or pitched at the coconuts, with the object of knocking one off its stand.
In 1950, the song was a top-ten hit in the U.S. for Freddy Martin And His Orchestra with vocalist Merv Griffin and sold over three million copies. The following year, it was a number-25 hit for Danny Kaye.
The song appeared in I Could Go On Singing (1963), Judy Garland's last film. A portion of the song also appeared in Disney's 1994 The Lion King (sung by Rowan Atkinson). Nicolas Cage also sang part of this song in National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Ringo Starr sang an impromptu version of the song in Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles' TV special broadcast by the BBC on 26 December 1967. Also, actors Hayden Rorke and Bill Daily performed a few lines of the song on ukulele in the 1969 I Dream of Jeannie episode "Uncles a Go-Go. In the first episode of the 1977 sitcom Mind Your Language it is mentioned that a professor went crazy and sang this song.
Swedish performer Povel Ramel wrote a Swedish version of the song in 1950. This version, "Far jag kan inte få upp min kokosnöt" ("Dad I can't crack my coconut open"), has little to do with the original. It is sung by a little boy who, in the course of his attempts to open his resilient coconut, disfigures his mother, demolishes the family's furniture, and finally blows their house up. This version also features prominently in the film My Life as a Dog (1985), as well as in the Swedish version of The Lion King. The song is also known in Finland from the versions by Kipparikvartetti and M. A. Numminen, Kuinka saisin rikki kookospähkinän, which feature a similar tragicomic story.
The 1994 Disney animated feature film The Lion King includes a portion of this song in its final act. The 2011 British 3D computer-animated family film Gnomeo & Juliet also includes a portion of the song.
- "Fred Heatherton". Discogs. 2014. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- 50 Best of All Time Hits, Warock/Cherio/Rytvoc, 1959
- Merv Griffin AllMusic.com
- "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts … but why?". The Story of Cambridge United. 2014.
- Walter Everett The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology Oxford University Press US 1999 ISBN 0-19-512941-5 page 132.
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