Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini

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"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini"
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini - Brian Hyland.jpg
Single by Brian Hyland
from the album The Bashful Blond
B-side "Don't Dilly Dally, Sally"
Released June 1960
Genre Bubblegum pop
Length 2:19
Label Leader/Kapp Records
Songwriter(s) Paul Vance
Lee Pockriss
Brian Hyland singles chronology
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini"
"Four Little Heels (The Clickety Clack Song)"

"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" is a novelty song telling the story of a shy girl wearing a revealing polka dot bikini at the beach. It was written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and first released in June 1960 by Brian Hyland with orchestra conducted by John Dixon.

History and lyrics[edit]

Hyland's version hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 8, 1960[1] and also made the top 10 in other countries, including #8 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] It also reached #1 in New Zealand.[3]

The story told through the three verses of the song is as follows: (1) the young lady is too afraid to leave the locker where she has changed into her bikini; (2) she has made it to the beach but sits on the sand wrapped in a blanket; and (3) she has finally gone into the ocean, but is too afraid to come out, and stays immersed in the water – despite the fact that she's "turning blue" – to hide herself from view.

Trudy Packer recited the phrases "...two, three, four / Tell the people what she wore", heard at the end of each verse before the chorus; and "Stick around, we'll tell you more", heard after the first chorus and before the start of the second verse.[4]

In an interview and article by Greg Ehrbar in "The Cartoon Music Book", edited by Daniel Goldmark and Yuval Taylor, Rankin-Bass musical director Maury Laws said he 'ghosted' the arrangement of the song for John Dixon, as Dixon had taken on more work than he could handle at that time.


At a time when bikini bathing suits were still seen as too risqué to be mainstream, the song prompted a sudden take off in bikini sales and is credited as being one of the earliest contributors to the acceptance of the bikini in society. The early 1960s saw a slew of surf movies and other film and television productions that rapidly built on the song's momentum.[5]

Ownership controversy[edit]

In September 2006, the song's co-writer Paul Vance read his own mistaken obituary.[6] The obituary was of another man, Paul Van Valkenburgh, who claimed to have written 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini' under the name Paul Vance. The impostor explained his lack of royalty payments for the song by claiming that he had sold the rights as a teenager. Vance, the song's true co-author, has earned several million dollars from the song since 1960, describing it as "a money machine."

In other media[edit]

The song was featured in the 1961 Billy Wilder film comedy One, Two, Three – in a key scene, the character Otto (Horst Buchholz), suspected of being a spy, is being tortured by East German police playing the song to him repetitively, eventually with the record off-center to create a weird howling variation of pitch. The actual recording was re-released in 1962 to capitalize on the film's success, but it did not rechart.

A faster version of the song appears on North American commercials for Yoplait Light yogurt in 2006.[7] The song is also used in a television commercial for the YWCA, and in films such as the 1981 Aparna Sen film 36 Chowringhee Lane as well as Sister Act 2 and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.

The song was going to be one of the tracks for Just Dance 2017, but was removed for an unknown reason. However, it has made an appearance on its sequel Just Dance 2018, performed by The Sunlight Shakers.

French version[edit]

"Itsy bitsy petit bikini"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
from the album Hello Johnny
Released 1960 (1960)
Label Philips
Songwriter(s) French adaptation: André Salvet and Lucien Morisse
Johnny Hallyday singles chronology
"Souvenirs, souvenirs"
"Itsy bitsy petit bikini"
"Kili watch"
"Itsi bitsi petit bikini"
Single by Dalida
from the album Garde moi la dernière danse
B-side "O sole mio"
Released 1960 (1960)
Label Barclay
Songwriter(s) French adaptation: André Salvet and Lucien Morisse
Producer(s) Barclay
Dalida singles chronology
"Les enfants du Pirée"
"Itsi bitsi petit bikini"
"24.000 baci"

The song was adapted (under the title "Itsy bitsy petit bikini") into French by André Salvet and Lucien Morisse.[8] The French version was recorded in 1960 first by Dalida and then by Johnny Hallyday.

Johnny Hallyday's version reached no. 1 in Wallonia (French Belgium).[8]

Track listings[edit]

Dalida version[edit]

7" single Barclay 70345 (1960)

  1. "Itsi bitsi petit bikini" (2:13)
  2. "O sole mio" (2:51)[9]

Johnny Hallyday version[edit]

7" single Vogue V. 45-775 (1960)

  1. "Itsy bitsy petit bikini" (2:15)
  2. "Depuis qu'ma môme" (2:25)[8]


Dalida version[edit]

Chart (1960-1961) Peak position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[10] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 1
France (SNEP)[12] 1
Canada (Hot 100) 1[13]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[14] 15
Italy (FIMI)[15] 16

Johnny Hallyday version[edit]

Chart (1960–1961) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[8] 1

Other cover versions and parodies[edit]

"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
Single by Bombalurina with Timmy Mallett
from the album Huggin An'a Kissin'
Released 1990
Format CD single, cassette single
Genre Pop
Label Polydor Records / Carpet Records
Songwriter(s) Paul Vance
Lee Pockriss
Producer(s) Timmy Mallet
Bombalurina with Timmy Mallett singles chronology
"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
"Seven Little Girls"
"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Honolulu-Strand-Bikini"
Single by Die Roten Rosen
from the album Never Mind the Hosen, Here's Die Roten Rosen
Released 1987
Genre Punk rock
Length 1:54
Label Virgin Records
Songwriter(s) Paul Vance
Lee Pockriss
Club Honolulu
Die Roten Rosen singles chronology
"Das Altbier Lied"
"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Honolulu-Strand-Bikini"
"Im Wagen vor mir"

There have been cover versions in many languages.

  • A cover version was made by Devo on the CD Pioneers Who Got Scalped. This version of the song had appeared in the film Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, but was unavailable on CD until the release of the Pioneers album.
  • Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy covered the song for the 1993 album Muppet Beach Party.
  • Ray Stevens, in 2012, covered the song on his 9-CD Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music project.
  • Mud recorded a cover version in 1982.
  • A Brazil version, a little faithful to the original, "Biquíni de Bolinha Amarelinha Tão Pequenininho", (LP Ronnie Cord, Copacabana CLP 11.164, October 1960) was a hit in 1960 when it was sung by Ronnie Cord,[17] and had some re-recordings, by artists like Celly Campello[18] and Blitz's 1983 version.[19]
  • A Spanish version "Bikini Amarillo" (very faithful to the original) was an enormous hit for Mexican singer Manolo Muñoz in the 1960s.[20]
  • A Finnish version "Pikku pikku bikinissä" was sung by Pirkko Mannola in 1961.
  • A Serbian version "Bikini sa žutim tačkicama" was sung by Ljiljana Petrović in 1962.
  • In 1983, the British group Echo & the Bunnymen composed and recorded the song "Do It Clean", released on Porcupine album, which lyric lines were inspired by the Hyland's hit: "Iszy bitzy witzy itzy everywhere / I've been here and I've been there".
  • George Wright covered the song in his 1984 album Red Hot and Blue.[21]
  • In 1987, it was sung in Greek by Polina (Πωλίνα), with the title "Το ροζ μπικίνι" (English: "The Pink Bikini"), in her album "Πάμε για τρέλλες στις Σεϋχέλλες" ("Pame gia trelles stis Seychelles").
  • Argentinian pop groups Viuda e hijas de Roque Enroll[22] and The Sacados[23] recorded successful versions in 1984 and 1990 respectively, under the name Bikini a lunares amarillo. The lyrics were translated into local slang, and update the source of shame to lack of waxing.[24]
  • Another cover version was "El Cohete Americano", a Cuban propaganda song sung by Las D'Aida in Album de la Revolucion Cubana (2000).
  • A Bulgarian version "Бански на лалета" ("Tulip Themed Bathing Suit") sung by the children group Sparrows (Врабчета) contains kids-friendly comic lyrics. In the lyrics a girl falls in love with a boy impressed by his tulip themed swimming suit among other things.[25]
  • In Croatian, there is a cover by the group Trio Tividi, titled simply "Bikini".
  • With lyrics in Swedish by Karl-Lennart, Lill-Babs recorded the song.[26]
  • At the beginning of 2006, a parody of the song was used for a TV Easy magazine advert, "I need an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie TV Easy Magaziney".
  • Günther recorded a version, "Teeny Weeny String Bikini".
  • The singing character Gummibär (The Gummy Bear) recorded original English,[27][28] Spanish[29] and French versions.[30]
  • A snippet is the last song covered on the 12" version of the "Stars on 45 Medley".
  • In 1960, it was sung in Japanese by Danny Iida & The Paradise King with Kyu Sakamoto as a member. (Toshiba Records JP-5051) [31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 72.
  2. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  3. ^ "flavour of new zealand - Lever hit parades". Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 297.
  5. ^ Rothaar, James. "Bikinis Exposed: Happy 60th Anniversary!" at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2007), JustLuxé, LuxeMont, 2004.
  6. ^ Leeds, Jeff (28 September 2006). "Itsy-Bitsy Bikini, Big Mistake: Paul Vance Is Alive and Well". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Yoplait Light – Raft – Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". splendAd. 
  8. ^ a b c d " – Johnny Hallyday – Itsy bitsy petit bikini" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^
  10. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}" (in French). Les classement single.
  13. ^
  14. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}" Canciones Top 50.
  15. ^ " – {{{artist}}} – {{{song}}}". Top Digital Download.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 517–8. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  17. ^ "Muito mais que um site oficial". Jovem Guarda. 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  18. ^ "As versões da música "Biquíni de Bolinha Amarelinha" – tem até uma de outra cor! | Blog do Curioso, por Marcelo Duarte". 2015-01-02. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  19. ^ "Cliquemusic : Disco : RADIOATIVIDADE". Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  20. ^ bikini amarillo-- manolo muñoz on YouTube
  21. ^ DeLay, Tom (January 1985). "For the Records". Theatre Organ. 27 (1): 20. ISSN 0040-5531. 
  22. ^ Viuda e hijas de Roque Enroll - Bikini a lunares amarillo diminuto justo justo on YouTube
  23. ^ The Sacados Bikini A Lunares Amarillo Video Clip Oficial on YouTube
  24. ^
  25. ^ Бански на лалета on YouTube
  26. ^ "Itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini / Lill-Babs" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1960. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  27. ^ Itsi Bitsi Bikini English Version - Gummibär The Gummy Bear on YouTube
  28. ^ Itsy Bitsy Polka-dot Bikini ~ Itsi Bitsi Bikini English ~ Versão em Inglês on YouTube
  29. ^ BIKINI AMARILLO Osito Gominola Gummibär The Gummy Bear Itsi Bitsi Bikini Spanish Espanol on YouTube
  30. ^ Itsi Bitsi Bikini AUDIO TRACK Gummibär The Gummy Bear on YouTube
  31. ^ ダニー飯田とパラダイス・キング ビキニスタイルのお嬢さん 1960 on YouTube