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"
ReleasedJune 1960
GenreBubblegum pop
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. The Hyland version reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, selling a million copies in the US, and was a worldwide hit. The song has been adapted into French as "Itsy bitsy petit bikini" and into German as "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu-Strand-Bikini", reaching number one on national charts in both languages. Several versions of the song have proved successful in various European countries. In 1990 a version by British pop band Bombalurina, titled "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and in Ireland.

History and lyrics[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[1]

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.[2]

Hyland's version hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 8, 1960[3] and sold over a million copies in the US.[4][5] It also made the top 10 in other countries, including #8 on the UK Singles Chart.[6] It also reached #1 in New Zealand.[7]

Ownership controversy[edit]

In September 2006 Paul Vance, the song's co-writer, read on TV his own mistaken obituary, as a consequence of the death 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 had explained his lack of royalty payments for the song by claiming that he had sold the rights as a teenager.[8] Vance, the song's true co-author, has earned several million dollars from the song since 1960, describing it as "a money machine."[citation needed]

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.

The song is also used 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 versions[edit]

"Itsy bitsy petit bikini"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
from the album Hello Johnny
Released1960 (1960)
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"
Released1960 (1960)
Songwriter(s)French adaptation: André Salvet and Lucien Morisse
Dalida singles chronology
"Les enfants du Pirée"
"Itsi bitsi petit bikini"
"24.000 baci"

The song was adapted into French under the title "Itsy bitsy petit bikini" by André Salvet and Lucien Morisse.[20] The French version was recorded in 1960 first by Dalida and then by Johnny Hallyday and Richard Anthony (Dalida also recorded a version in Italian titled "Pezzettini di bikini"). Sales of all three French versions as well as Brian Hyland's English version were combined and reached number one in Wallonia (French-speaking Belgium), charting for nine months from September 1, 1960 to May 1, 1961.[20]

A version by the animated character Funny Bear also reached the top 30 in France in 2007.[21]

Richard Anthony's version of "Itsy bitsy petit bikini" appears in the 2006 film A Good Year.

Track listings[edit]

Dalida version[edit]

7" single Barclay 70345 (1960)

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

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


Dalida/Johnny Hallyday/Richard Anthony/Brian Hyland versions[edit]

Chart (1960–1961) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[20] 1

Funny Bear version[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
France (SNEP)[21] 30

German versions[edit]

In Germany the song was renamed "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu-Strand-Bikini" and with German lyrics written by Rudolf Günter Loose. It was recorded by Club Honolulu, an alias for French-born Italian singer Caterina Valente and her brother Silvio Francesco,[22] and reached number one on the West German charts.[23]

The teenage Danish brothers Jan & Kjeld also recorded a version in German, but although the duo were popular in West Germany, having already had several hits there, their version failed to chart in that country, and its only chart appearance was in the Netherlands.[24]


Club Honolulu version[edit]

Chart (1960) Peak
West Germany (Official German Charts)[23] 1

Jan & Kjeld version[edit]

Chart (1960) Peak
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 18

Albert West versions[edit]

Dutch singer Albert West collaborated with original singer Hyland on an updated version in 1988, which reached number 43 on the Dutch singles chart.[25] In 2003 West recorded another version of the song with Band Zonder Banaan which reached number 36.[26]


Albert West & Brian Hyland version[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[25] 43

Band Zonder Banaan & Albert West version[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 36

Bombalurina version[edit]

"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
Single by Bombalurina
from the album Huggin An'a Kissin'
B-side"Clap Yo Hands, Stamp Yo Feet"
FormatCD single, cassette single
Songwriter(s)Paul Vance
Lee Pockriss
Bombalurina singles chronology
"Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
"Seven Little Girls"

In 1990 a version was released by Bombalurina, titled Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, which featured Timmy Mallett, star of Wacaday, a popular UK children's television show of the time, along with two dancers, Dawn Andrews and Annie Dunkley.[27] Andrews later married Gary Barlow of the band Take That.[28] Mallett told the British pop magazine Smash Hits that the composer of popular theatre musicals Andrew Lloyd Webber had come up with the idea for making the single, and had asked Mallett to sing on it. The day after recording the song, Mallett took a copy of it on a tour of European clubs where he was making personal appearances, and asked the clubs' DJs to play the song, raising public awareness of the record.[27] In November 2008 schoolteacher and former singer Everton Barnes claimed that he was the real singer on the record, as Mallett had been unable to hit the right notes and sung flat.[29]

The song was released on Carpet Records, a subsidiary of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, and Lloyd Webber later admitted that he had produced the song because his wife had bet him that as a composer of musical theatre, he would not be able to make a pop song that was a big hit.[30] The band name "Bombalurina" was taken from the name of one of the characters in Lloyd Webber's musical Cats.[27]

The song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on August 19, 1990 and was certified silver for sales of 250,000 copies.[31] The single also reached number one in Ireland, and the top ten in several other countries.


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[32] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[33] 29
France (SNEP)[34] 45
Germany (Official German Charts)[35] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[36] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[37] 3
Norway (VG-lista)[38] 3
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 28
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[40] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1990) Rank
UK Singles (Gallup)[41] 16

Other cover versions and parodies[edit]

There have been cover versions in many languages.

  • Comedian Buddy Hackett released a cover version of this song soon after the original was released.
  • German version with Club Honolulu (Caterina Valente and her brother Silvio Francesco) in 1960.
  • The country comedy duo Homer and Jethro did a parody version on their 1966 album "Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone."
  • Connie Francis included a version of the song on her 1966 album Connie Francis and The Kids Next Door.
  • Jimi Hendrix played a brief cover of the song on the live recording Mr. Pitiful, released in 1981 in Germany only.
  • German punk band Die Toten Hosen covered the Club Honolulu version (in German) on their 1987 cover album Never Mind the Hosen, Here's Die Roten Rosen. It was released as a promo single under the alias Die Roten Rosen. Also, on the 2007 re-release, the English version was added as a bonus track.
  • Hungarian teen sensation Szandi covered the song on her 1989 album Kicsi lány[42] (English translation: Little Girl), in fact this was the title song. The chorus in Hungarian is the following: "Egy csöppnyi, ici-pici, csuda-buli, Honolulu fürdőruci", meaning "A teenie-weenie, itsy-bitsy, super-dooper Honolulu swimming suit".
  • 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,[43] and had some re-recordings, by artists like Celly Campello[44] and Blitz's 1983 version.[45]
  • A Spanish version "Bikini Amarillo" (very faithful to the original) was an enormous hit for Mexican singer Manolo Muñoz in the 1960s.[46]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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[48] and The Sacados[49] 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.[50]
  • 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.[51]
  • 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.[52]
  • 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,[53][54] Spanish[55] and French versions.[56]
  • 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) [57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). Billboard Publications. p. 297. ISBN 978-0-82307-499-0.
  2. ^ Rothaar, James. "Bikinis Exposed: Happy 60th Anniversary!" at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2007), JustLuxé, LuxeMont, 2004.
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits (5th ed.). Billboard Publications. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-82307-677-2.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Brian Hyland". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  5. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). Guinness World Records. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-90499-410-7.
  6. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  7. ^ "flavour of new zealand - Lever hit parade". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  8. ^ Leeds, Jeff (September 28, 2006). "Itsy-Bitsy Bikini, Big Mistake: Paul Vance Is Alive and Well". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  9. ^ " – Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ " – Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "CHART NUMBER 168 – Monday, July 18, 1960". 1050 CHUM. July 21, 2006. Archived from the original on July 21, 2006.
  12. ^ " – Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  13. ^ " – Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  14. ^ " – Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini". VG-lista.
  15. ^ "Brian Hyland: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Brian Hyland Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  17. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, August 6, 1960
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Top 50 Hits of 1960 – Based on Results of the Cash Box Year End Juke Box Operator Poll". The Cash Box. December 24, 1960. p. 16.
  20. ^ a b c " – Johnny Hallyday – Itsy bitsy petit bikini" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ a b " – FunnyBear – Itsi bitsi petit bikini" (in French). Les classement single.
  22. ^ Huber, Rupert (July 5, 2016). "'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie': Der Bikini wird 70 Jahre alt". Augsburger Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  23. ^ a b " – Club Honolulu – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand Bikini". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  24. ^ a b " – Jan und Kjeld – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand-Bikini" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ a b " – Albert West & Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  26. ^ a b " – Band Zonder Banaan & Albert West – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ a b c Frith, Mark (22 August – 4 September 1990). "I'm Utterly, Utterly Brilliant!!!". Smash Hits. pp. 10–11.
  28. ^ Smith, Sean (2013). Gary: The Definitive Biography of Gary Barlow. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-47110-221-9.
  29. ^ "Timmy Mallett accused of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny porkie". Evening Standard. November 26, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  30. ^ Rollo, Sarah (November 27, 2008). "Webber makes 'Itsy Bitsy' confession". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  31. ^ "BPI Certified Awards – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". BPI. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  32. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  33. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  34. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (in French). Les classement single.
  35. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  36. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Bombalurina featuring Timmy Mallett". Irish Singles Chart.
  37. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". Top 40 Singles.
  38. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". VG-lista.
  39. ^ " – Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". Swiss Singles Chart.
  40. ^ "Bombalurina: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  41. ^ "1990 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. March 2, 1991. p. 41.
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Muito mais que um site oficial". Jovem Guarda. 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  44. ^ "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.
  45. ^ "Cliquemusic : Disco : RADIOATIVIDADE". Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  46. ^ bikini amarillo-- manolo muñoz on YouTube
  47. ^ DeLay, Tom (January 1985). "For the Records". Theatre Organ. 27 (1): 20. ISSN 0040-5531.
  48. ^ Viuda e hijas de Roque Enroll - Bikini a lunares amarillo diminuto justo justo on YouTube
  49. ^ The Sacados Bikini A Lunares Amarillo Video Clip Oficial on YouTube
  50. ^
  51. ^ Бански на лалета on YouTube
  52. ^ "Itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini / Lill-Babs" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1960. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  53. ^ Itsi Bitsi Bikini English Version - Gummibär The Gummy Bear on YouTube
  54. ^ Itsy Bitsy Polka-dot Bikini ~ Itsi Bitsi Bikini English ~ Versão em Inglês on YouTube
  55. ^ BIKINI AMARILLO Osito Gominola Gummibär The Gummy Bear Itsi Bitsi Bikini Spanish Espanol on YouTube
  56. ^ Itsi Bitsi Bikini AUDIO TRACK Gummibär The Gummy Bear on YouTube
  57. ^ 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