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K-K-K-Katy Cover.jpg
"K-K-K-Katy" cover
Published 1918
Recorded 1917
Writer(s) Geoffrey O'Hara

"K-K-K-Katy" was a popular World War I-era song written by Canadian American composer Geoffrey O'Hara in 1917 and published in 1918. The sheet music advertised it as "The Sensational Stammering Song Success Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors", as well as "The Sensational New Stammering Song"[1] The song was first played at a garden party fund-raiser for the Red Cross in Collins Bay on Lake Ontario. O'Hara was from Chatham in Ontario and taught music at Ontario University.

The inspiration for the "Katy" of the song was Katherine Craig Richardson of Kingston (who did not stutter). She was a friend of O'Hara's sister and her parents recall O'Hara writing the song in their living room.[2]


Jimmy was a soldier brave and bold

Katy was a maid with hair of gold

Like an act of fate Kate was standing at the gate

Watching all the boys while on parade

Kate smiled, with a twinkle in her eye

Jim said, m-m-m-meet ya by and by

That night at eight Jim was at the garden gate

Stuttering this song to K-K-K-Kate (chorus)


K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katy

You're the only g-g-g-girl that I adore

When the m-m-m-moon shines

Over the c-c-c-cowshed

I'll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door

K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katy

You're the only g-g-g-girl that I adore

When the m-m-m-moon shines

Over the c-c-c-cowshed

I'll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door

No one ever looked so nice and neat

No one could be just as cute and sweet

That's what Jimmy thought

When the wedding ring he bought

Soon he'll go to France, the foe to meet

Jimmy thought he'd like to take a chance

See if he could make the Kaiser dance

Stepping to a tune all about the silv'ry moon

This is what they'll hear in far off France (chorus)

Performed by Billy Murray recorded in 1918

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Early performances and commercial success[edit]

"K-K-K-Katy" was a top 20 song from May 1918 to January 1919 and was number 1 from July to September.[3] It was recorded by Billy Murray on March 8, 1918 and released on Victor 18455.[citation needed]

Eugene Buckley also recorded a version of the song.[3]

The sheet music was heavily reprinted.[3]

The song made a comeback during World War II, when songs from World War I became popular at military training camps. "K-K-K-Katy" was one of many songs brought to the front by officers who had heard this song while on leave in England. Older songs such as "K-K-K-Katy" were often preferred over modern songs.[4]

The song was covered by Mel Blanc in his Porky Pig voice 1949, with some vocalists backing him. The song can be heard on the compilation album Mel Blanc: The Man of 1000 Voices 2007.[citation needed]

Later performances and parodies[edit]

The song was the basis of a parody which ridiculed the Ku Klux Klan,[5] a reactionary terrorist organization in the United States of America often referred to by its acronym, KKK.

The song is also mentioned in Dennis Potter's play Blue Remembered Hills, which was first seen on BBC TV in January 1979. The play is about a group of seven-year-old children played by adults who spend a summer's day in 1943 playing in the woods. Raymond, a child with a stammer, is mocked by the other children, who taunt him several times during the play by singing lines from "K-K-K-Katy".[citation needed]

Katie, the 1987 debut album of post-punk group Bodhitrees, featured a humorous cover of the song to conclude the album.[citation needed]

Additionally, the political-humor group Capitol Steps performed a parody of this song entitled "K-K-Kuwaitis", about the 1990 invasion of Kuwait which began the Gulf War. The song was released on their 1990 album Sheik, Rattle & Roll![6]

The "Yriekay" movement of P.D.Q. Bach's Missa Hilarious includes a section with the text "K-K-K-Kyrie eleison", in reference to this song.[citation needed]

Robert Redford's character (Hubbell) in "The Way We Were" yelled K-K-K-Katie to Barbra Streisand's character (Katie) during the 1973 film.


  1. ^ Pelger, Martin (2014). Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War. New York: Osprey Publishing. p. 277. ISBN 978-1-4728-0415-0. 
  2. ^ Furia, Philip; Lasser, Michael (2006). America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley. New York: Routledge. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-415-97246-8. 
  3. ^ a b c Paas, John Roger 2014. America Sings of War: American Sheet Music from World War I. Harrassowitz Verlag. pg 218, ISBN 978-3-447-10278-0#
  4. ^ Smith, Kathleen E. R. (2003). God Bless America: Tin Pan Alley Goes to War. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky. p. 99. ISBN 0-8131-2256-2. 
  5. ^ Who Killed Jimmy Dammit? (Lulu, 2011), pg. 58
  6. ^ Capitol Steps (Comedy troupe). Sheik, Rattle & Roll! Alexandria, VA: Capitol Steps Productions, 1990. OCLC 24499263
  • Who Wrote that Song Dick Jacobs & Harriet Jacobs, published by Writer's Digest Books, 1993

Additional reading[edit]

  • Leo Feist, Inc. Songs the Soldiers and Sailors Sing!: A Collection of Favorite Songs As Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors - "Over Here" and "Over There," Including Complete Choruses Words and Music of 36 of the Most Popular and Most Sung "Newer" Songs. New York, N.Y.: Leo. Feist, 1918. OCLC 24169456
  • Parker, Bernard S. World War I Sheet Music: 9,670 Patriotic Songs Published in the United States, 1914–1920, with More Than 400 Covers Illustrated. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006. ISBN 0-7864-2493-1 OCLC 225972248
  • Vogel, Frederick G. World War I Songs: A History and Dictionary of Popular American Patriotic Tunes, with Over 300 Complete Lyrics. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1995. ISBN 0-89950-952-5 OCLC 32241433
  • Smith, Kathleen E.R. God Bless America: Tin Pan Alley Goes to War. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003. ISBN 0-8131-2256-2 OCLC 50868277

External links[edit]