Run Rabbit Run

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This article is about the song. For the Osso album, see Run Rabbit Run (album). For the novel, see Rabbit, Run.

Run Rabbit Run is a song written by Noel Gay and Ralph Butler. The music was by Noel Gay and the song was originally sung by Flanagan and Allen.


This song was written for Noel Gay's show The Little Dog Laughed, which opened on 11 October 1939, at a time when most of the major London theatres were closed. It was a popular song during World War II, especially after Flanagan and Allen changed the lyrics to poke fun at the Germans (e.g. Run Adolf, Run Adolf, Run, Run, Run........)

On the farm, every Friday
On the farm, it's rabbit pie day.
So, every Friday that ever comes along,
I get up early and sing this little song
Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Goes the farmer's gun.
Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run.
Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
Don't give the farmer his fun! Fun! Fun!
He'll get by
Without his rabbit pie
So run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!

The lyrics were used as a defiant dig at the allegedly ineffectual Luftwaffe. On 13 November 1939, soon after the outbreak of the Second World War and also soon after the song was premiered, Germany launched its first air raid on Britain, on flying boats that were sheltering in Sullom Voe, Shetland. Two rabbits were supposedly killed by a bomb drop, although it is suggested that they were in fact procured from a butchers' shop and used for publicity purposes.[1][2]


The song was a popular nursery rhyme still sung by children in many parts of Britain, although its popularity has declined substantially since the end of the Second World War.[citation needed] However, it remains popular in New Zealand as the Maori version of the song 'Oma Rāpeti'.[3][4]

The first track on the album The Dark Side of the Moon, "Speak to Me/Breathe", included the lyrics "Run, rabbit. Run". The same lyrics are also included in "Bankrobber" by the Clash. Also in the Wings song "Band On the Run"... "For the rabbits on the run". "Better run, rabbit run" is also found in "Son of a Gun", the first track on the The La's eponymous first album.

The song was used as background in the first episode of Outlander, the Starz series produced by Ronald D Moore. The first episode "Sassenach" premiered on August 9, 2014.


  1. ^ Shetland Museum and Archives Photo Library | Subjects | Item
  2. ^ Image:Bombcrater.jpg - Shetlopedia - The Shetland Encyclopaedia - The Shetland Encyclopaedia that anyone can edit
  3. ^ "NZ Folksong * Pre-schoolers' Waiata". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Uma Rapiti". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Hickman, Tom: Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H Thompson. Headline Book Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0-7553-1448-4
  6. ^ "IMDB quotes".