Yankee Doodle

DESCRIPTION: Concerning the exploits of a New England backwoodsman who joins Washington's colonial army. He sees many wonders his mind cannot comprehend. He is steadily teased: "Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy...."
AUTHOR: sometimes credited to Dr. Richard Shuckburgh
EARLIEST DATE: 1794
KEYWORDS: war rebellion humorous America
FOUND IN: US(All)
REFERENCES (18 citations):
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 521-525, "Yankee Doodle" (4 texts, 1 tune, although 1 text is the Confederate version)
Linscott, pp. 115-118, "Virginia Reel" [medley of "The Irish Washerwoman," "The White Cockade," and "Yankee Doodle"] (1 tune for each of the three melodies, plus dance instructions)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 77-78, "The Yankees return from Camp" (1 text plus a broadside print)
Opie-Oxford2 548, "Yankee Doodle came to town" (6 texts)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #109, p. 92, "(Yankee Doodle)"
Jack, p. 270, "Yanke Doodle Dandy" (1 short text)
Dolby, p. 152, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text)
Stout 104, p. 133, "Nursery Rhyme" (1 text of two verses, the first being "Yankee Doodle" and the second "Lucy Locket/Hunt the Squirrel")
Arnett, pp. 18-19, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 3-8, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text plus fragments)
Krythe 1, pp. 3-14, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 338-340, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 71, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 292, "Yankee Doodle" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 659-660+, "Yankee Doodle"
DT, YANKDOOD*
ADDITIONAL: Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, _Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889_, R. R. Bowker, 1941, pp. 7-8, prints parts of six early versions of the text; pp. 17-19 describes nine printed copies from before 1810 and on plate #2 shows a test and tune which appear to predate the Revolutionary War version
Gregory Walker, Mary Clapinson, Lesley Forbes, Editors, _The Bodleian Library: A Subject Guide to the Collections_, Bodleian Press, 2004, plate XIX (following p. 128), "Yanke Doodle, or (as now Christened by the Saints of New England) The Lexington March" (a reproduction of what is said to be the earliest print of the music, broadisde Harding G 70(3), reportedly one of only three copies of this edition to survive)

Roud #4501
RECORDINGS:
Piper's Gap Ramblers, "Yankee Doodle" (OKeh 45185, 1928; rec. 1927)
Pete Seeger, "Yankee Doodle" (on PeteSeeger17) (on PeteSeeger33, PeteSeegerCD03)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 31(146), "Yankee Doodle ("Father and I went down to camp, along with captain Goodwin"), A.W. Auner (Philadelphia), c.1860; also Harding B 31(128), "Yanke Doodle"[not misspelled in the text]
LOCSinging, sb40592b, "Yankee Doodle," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878; also hc00037b, "Yanke Doodle"[not misspelled in the text]

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Confederate 'Yankee Doodle'"
cf. "The Presidents (The Presidents in Rhyme)" (tune)
cf. "The Battle of the Kegs" (tune)
cf. "Devilish Mary" [Laws Q4] (tune)
cf. "Fair and Free Elections" (tune)
cf. "Uncle John is Sick Abed" (tune)
cf. "Mrs. Brown Went to Town" (structure and some words)
cf. "Monitor and Merrimac" (tune)
cf. "Multiplication Table Song" (tune)
cf. "The Valiant Conscript" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
Confederate "Yankee Doodle" (File: R249)
The Presidents (The Presidents in Rhyme) (File: R877)
The Battle of the Kegs (File: SBoA077)
Fair and Free Elections (File: FSWB284)
Uncle John Is Sick Abed (File: LIWUJISA)
Monitor and Merrimac (File: CAFS1195)
Multiplication Table Song (File: Stou103H)
The Valiant Conscript (File: SCWF201)
The Times (Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 144-146)
The Embargo (Darling-NAS, pp. 342-344)
The Preposition Song (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 203)
James K. Polk campaign song: "The Democrats will be triumphant" (see John Siegenthaler, _James K. Polk_, Times Books, 2003, p. 91)
Sir William he, Snug as a flea (broadside lampooning General Sir William Howe's liason with Mrs. Loring) (see Stanley Weintraub, _Iron Tears: America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775-1783_, Free Press, 2005, p. 123)
The CHain Masters came along (Jon Raven, _The Urban and Industrial Songs of the Black Country and Birmingham_, Broadside, 1977, pp. 246-247)
NOTES: There is a reference to "Yankee Doodle" in a comic opera of 1767 ("The Disappointment, or The Force of Credulity" by Andrew Barton; see Dichter/Shapiro, p. 17 and the sheet music reproduced in plate #2), but given the references in the common version to the continental army and "Captain Washington," the piece as commonly sung can hardly predate the Revolutionary War.
Krythe gives an extensive summary of the stories told about the song's origins, including a similar piece of doggerel allegedly dating to the time of Cromwell (died 1658). Most of them must be regarded as folkloric. Similarly Spaeth, in his A History of Popular Music in America, devotes thousands of words (pp.15-21) to the known history and alleged antecedents of the song. The sum, as Spaeth makes abundantly clear, tells us very little. We must confess that we really don't know the history of the song. The Opies bemtion the attribution to Shuckburgh -- and say it is "now discredited."
Laura Ingalls Wilder had a curious version (Little House in the Big Woods, chapter 2) with a chorus I have not seen elsewhere: "And I'll sing Yankee Doodle-de-do, and I'll sing Yankee Doodle" (x2). This portion of the Little House books is fictional (Laura did not live in Wisconsin at the age described), and so we cannot date the song, but it is presumably traditional.
This "Yankee Doodle" is obviously not to be confused with the 1812 song "The Constitution and the Guerriere," sometimes titled "Yankee Doodle Dandy-O." - RBW
I have not listed all the [broadside] variants ("Yankee Doodle No.2," "Yankee Doodle No.3," and others including an "Original Yankee Doodle") You can find them among the Bodleian and LOCSinging collections.
Broadside LOCSinging sb40592b: H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site.
Broadsides LOCSinging hc00037b and Bodleian Harding B 31(128) are duplicates. - BS
Last updated in version 3.3
File: LxA521

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.