Nellie the Elephant
|"Nellie the Elephant"|
|Single by Mandy Miller|
|B-side||It's Time To Dream|
|Writer(s)||Ralph Butler, Peter Hart|
The original version, released on Parlophone R 4219 in October 1956, was recorded by English child actress Mandy Miller, with orchestra conducted by Phil Cardew. It was arranged by Ron Goodwin and produced by George Martin. Although never a hit single, it was played countless times on BBC national radio in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly on Children's Favourites.
The chorus of the song is as follows:
- Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
- And said goodbye to the circus
- Off she went with a trumpety-trump
- Trump, trump, trump
- The punk rock band Toy Dolls did a cover of this song in 1982, which was later released on the 1983 album Dig That Groove Baby. Issued as a single, it reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart in 1984.
- In turn, the Toy Dolls' version was covered by WC Experience as the Dutch (Brabantian dialect) version "Fritske d'n Olifant".
- 1987 saw Black Lace releasing their version of the song, later appearing on their 2011 album, The Essential Collection.
- Lulu's version from the cartoon series of the same name was released as a single in 1990.
The rhythm and tempo of this song is often used to teach people the rhythm of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The recommended rate for CPR is 100 chest compressions per minute. A study at Coventry University compared the effectiveness of this song in maintaining this rhythm with an alternative of "That's the Way (I Like It)" and no song at all. The version used for the study was by Little Bear which was found to have a tempo of 105 beats per minute. Singing the chorus of the song twice, with a compression on each beat, results in exactly 30 compressions, which is the international standard for CPR.
The use of "Nellie" resulted in correct timing for 42 out of 130 cases, as compared with 15 for no music and just 12 for "That's the Way (I Like It)". However, the depth of compression was found to be inadequate in most of those cases, and the use of "Nellie" was found to increase this slightly, as compared with the use of no music (56% too shallow with Nellie and 47% without).
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- Rawlins, L.; Woollard, M.; Williams, J.; Hallam, P. (2009). "Effect of listening to Nellie the Elephant during CPR training on performance of chest compressions by lay people: Randomised crossover trial". BMJ 339: b4707. doi:10.1136/bmj.b4707. PMC 2792674. PMID 20008376.
- Woollard, M.; Poposki, J.; McWhinnie, B.; Rawlins, L.; Munro, G.; O'Meara, P. (2011). "Achy breaky makey wakey heart? A randomised crossover trial of musical prompts". Emergency Medicine Journal 29 (4): 290–294. doi:10.1136/emermed-2011-200187. PMID 22048987.
- "Does music have a role in CPR?". BBC.co.uk. 3 November 2011.