Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey
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"(Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey", originally titled "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?" is a popular song published in 1902. It is commonly referred to as simply "Bill Bailey".
Its words and music were written by Hughie Cannon (1877–1912), an American songwriter and pianist. It is still a standard with Dixieland and traditional jazz bands. The simple 32-bar chord sequence of its chorus also underpins many other tunes played mainly by jazz bands, such as "Over the Waves", "Washington and Lee Swing", "Bourbon Street Parade", "My Little Girl", and the final themes of "Tiger Rag" and "The Beer Barrel Polka".
It was a #1 hit for Arthur Collins in July 1902. Among the artists who have covered the song are Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Patsy Cline, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin from Take a Look (1967), Brenda Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Jimmy Durante, Phish, Danny Barker, Harry Connick Jr, Renee Olstead, Michael Bublé, Sam Cooke, Al Hirt and others. Singer and actress Della Reese recorded the song in 1961, and it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number #98, and became a part of her performance repertoire. In Britain the Edwardian music hall star Victoria Monks (1884–1927) popularised the song in 1905 and thereafter it became her most demanded and remembered song.
Most commonly it is performed in a truncated version based on the chorus. While the chorus is much more familiar than the verse, some artists continue to perform the verse as well, sometimes as an introduction. Without the lyrics of the seldom heard verse, one doesn't know who Bill Bailey is nor why he isn't home. (An unusual approach is Bobby Darin's version, as he added his own spoken word introduction, as an aside to the mythical Bailey.)
In the "Miss Solar System" episode of The Jetsons, first aired February 3, 1963, Jane belts out "Won't You Fly Home Bill Spacely" in Hanna-Barbera's own parody of the song. Hanna-Barbera (with Cartoon Network Studios) makes more frequent use of the song throughout its Johnny Bravo cartoon series.
Children's performer Tom Chapin recorded a version of this song on his album Some Assembly Required.
The 1980 Smurfs album, "Smurfing Sing Song", includes a version of this song entitled "Smurf Baby" which is the "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey" chorus repeated and the name "Bill Bailey" is replaced with "Smurf Baby".
- Al Hirt, Beauty and the Beard Retrieved April 10, 2013.
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Traditional arrangement (from the "Historic American Sheet Music" site):