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Encyclopedia > Yankee Doodle

"Yankee Doodle" is a well-known US song, often sung patriotically today. It is the state anthem of Connecticut.[1] The United States is home to a wide array of regional styles and scenes. ... Patriotism is a feeling of love and devotion to ones own homeland (patria, the land of ones fathers). ... Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state. ... Official language(s) English Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport[3] Largest metro area Hartford Metro Area[2] Area  Ranked 48th  - Total 5,543[4] sq mi (14,356 km²)  - Width 70 miles (113 km)  - Length 110 miles (177 km)  - % water 12. ...

The first verse and refrain, as often sung today, run thus:

Yankee Doodle went to town,
A-Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy;
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy!

The tune has become synonymous with the United States. The Voice of America begins and ends all broadcasts with the interval signal of "Yankee Doodle". In 18th century England, a macaroni was a fashionable man who dressed and even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner. ... Voice of America logo Voice of America (VOA), is the official external radio and television broadcasting service of the United States federal government. ... An interval signal is a characteristic sound or musical phrase used in international broadcasting and by some domestic broadcasters. ...


History and lyrics

The song's origins were in a pre-Revolutionary War song originally sung by British military officers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial "Yankees" with whom they served in the French and Indian War. At the time, the most common meaning of the word doodle was that of "simpleton" or "fool". It is believed that the tune comes from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket. One version of the Yankee Doodle lyrics is attributed to Doctor Richard Shuckburgh, a British Army surgeon. The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ... For the Major League Baseball team, see New York Yankees. ... Combatants France First Nations allies: Algonquin Lenape Wyandot Ojibwa Ottawa Shawnee Great Britain American Colonies Iroquois Confederacy Strength 3,900 regulars 7,900 militia 2,200 natives (1759) 50,000 regulars and militia (1759) Casualties 3,000 killed, wounded or captured 10,040 killed, wounded or captured The French and... A doodle of a dog. ... A nursery rhyme is a traditional song or poem taught to young children, originally in the nursery. ... Lucy Locket is an English nursery rhyme. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ...

The Boston Journal of the Times wrote about a British band declaring "that Yankee Doodle song was the Capital Piece of their band music." Boston redirects here. ...

Early versions

The earliest known version of the lyrics comes from 1775: Year 1775 (MDCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ...

Brother Ephraim sold his Cow
And bought him a Commission;
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the Nation;
But when Ephraim he came home
He proved an arrant Coward,
He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there
For fear of being devour'd.

(Note that the sheet music which accompanies these lyrics reads, "The Words to be Sung through the Nose, & in the West Country drawl & dialect.")

The Ephraim referenced here was Ephraim Williams, a popularly known Colonel in the Massachusetts militia who was killed in the Battle of Lake George. He left his land and property to the founding of a school in Western Massachusetts, now known as Williams College. Ephraim Williams Jr. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Combatants Britain France Commanders William Johnson, 1st Baronet Johnson, King Hendrick † Jean Erdman, Baron Dieskau Strength 1,500 militia, 200 Mohawks 3,500 regulars, militia, and natives Casualties 331 killed, wounded or missing [1] 339 killed, wounded or missing [2] Seven Years War in North America: The French and Indian... Williams College is a private, liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. ...

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans embraced the song and made it their own, turning it back on those who had used it to mock them. A newspaper account after the Battle of Lexington and Concord, a Boston newspaper reported: "Upon their return to Boston [pursued by the Minutemen], one [Briton] asked his brother officer how he liked the tune now, — 'Damn them,' returned he, 'they made us dance it till we were tired' — since which Yankee Doodle sounds less sweet to their ears." The Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War and was described as the shot heard round the world in Emersons Concord Hymn. ...

The British responded with another set of lyrics following the Battle of Bunker Hill: For a list of numerous places and things that are named after this battle, see Bunker Hill. ...

The seventeen of June, at Break of Day,
The Rebels they supriz'd us,
With their strong Works, which they'd thrown up,
To burn the Town and drive us.

Also on February 6, 1788. Massachusetts ratified the Constitution by a vote of 186 to 168. To the ringing of bells and the booming of cannons, the delegates trooped out of Brattle Street Church. Before many days had passed, the citizens sang their convention song to the tune of "Yankee Doodle." Here are the lyrics to their song...

The vention did in Boston meet,
The State House could not hold 'em
So then they went to Fed'ral Street,
And there the truth was told 'em...
And ev'ry morning went to prayer,
And then began disputing,
Till oppositions silenced were,
By arguments refuting.
Now politicians of all kinds,
Who are not yet decided,
May see how Yankees speak their minds,
And yet are not divided.
So here I end my Fed'ral song,
Composed of thirteen verses;
May agriculture flourish long
And commerce fill our purses!

Full version

A full version of the song, as it is known today, goes:

Fath'r and I went down to camp,
Along with Captain Goodin',
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty puddin'.
Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.
And there we saw thousand' men
As rich as Squire David,
And what they wasted ev'ry day,
I wish it could be saved.
Yankee Doodle &c.
And there we saw a swampin' gun,
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father's cattle.
Yankee Doodle &c.
And every time they shoot it off,
It takes a horn of powder;
It makes a noise like father's gun,
Only a nation louder.
Yankee Doodle &c.
Cousin Simon grew so bold,
I thought he would have cock'd it.
It scared me so, I shrieked it off,
And hung by father's pocket.
Yankee Doodle &c.
I saw a little barrel too,
The heads were made of leather.
They knocked on it with little clubs
And called the folks together.
Yankee Doodle &c.
And there was Captain Washington,
And gentlefolks about him.
They say he's grown so tarnal proud,
He will not ride without em'.
Yankee Doodle &c.
He got himself in meeting-clothes,
Upon a slapping stallion.
He set the world along in rows,
In hundreds and in millions.
Yankee Doodle &c.
The flaming ribbons in his hat,
They looked so taring fine, ah,
I wanted pockily to get,
To give to my Jemimah.
Yankee Doodle &c.

Civil war

During the American Civil War, Southerners added some new lines of their own: Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total...

Yankee Doodle had a mind
To whip the Southern rebels,
Because they did not choose to live
On codfish from his tables.
Yankee Doodle, fa, so la,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
And so to keep his courage up,
He took a drink of brandy.

Also popular in the South was a further customized version called "Dixie Doodle": Dixie Doodle was a popular parody of Yankee Doodle in the South at the time of the American Civil War. ...

Dixie whipped old Yankee Doodle
Early in the morning.
Yankeedom had best look out
And take a timely warning.
Hurrah! for our Dixie land,
Hurrah! for our borders!
Southern boys to arms will stand
And whip the dark marauders.

Variations and parodies

Many other variations and parodies have since arisen, including the one taught to schoolchildren today: In contemporary usage, a parody (or lampoon) is a work that imitates another work in order to ridicule, ironically comment on, or poke some affectionate fun at the work itself, the subject of the work, the author or fictional voice of the parody, or another subject. ...

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Yankee Doodle round the world
As sweet as sugar candy


Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
and with the girls be handy!

Some believe that these were alternative lyrics used by the British army during the revolutionary war. A "macaroni", in mid-18th-century England, was a dandyish young man with affected Continental mannerisms; the joke being that the Yankees believed that a feather in the hat was sufficient to make them the height of fashion. Whether or not these were alternative lyrics sung in the British army, they were enthusiastically taken up by the Yanks themselves. In 18th century England, a macaroni was a fashionable man who dressed and even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner. ...

In the 1930s jazz vocalist Billie Holiday sung her own parodical version of the song, which began: Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), born Eleanora Fagan and later nicknamed Lady Day (see Jazz royalty regarding similar nicknames), was an American jazz singer, a seminal influence on jazz and pop singers, and generally regarded as one of the greatest female jazz vocalists. ...

Yankee Doodle never went to town
I've just discovered the story was phony
Let me give you all the real low-down
He didn’t even own a pony

Popular culture

James Francis Cagney, Jr. ... Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 biographical film about George M. Cohan, starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp and Jeanne Cagney. ... DVD Cover for the entire series. ... Barney & Friends is a popular childrens television show produced in the United States, mainly aimed at preschoolers. ... Magna Doodle is a childrens magnetic drawing toy, comprised of a magnetic drawing board, a pen, and a few magnet shapes. ... Paint Your Wagon is a 1951 Broadway musical comedy, with book and lyrics by Alan J. Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, set in a mining camp in Gold Rush-era California. ... America Sings was a show at Disneyland at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, from 1974 to 1988. ... The United States Bicentennial was celebrated on July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1766) Bald Eagle range  Resident, breeding Summer visitor, breeding Winter visitor On migration only Star: accidental records Subspecies (Linnaeus, 1766) Southern Bald Eagle (Audubon, 1827) Northern Bald Eagle Synonyms Falco leucocephalus Linnaeus, 1766 The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America... Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (14 June 1909 –14 April 1995) was an Academy Award winning American actor and acclaimed folk music singer and author. ... John McEnroe(2) DEF Bjorn Borg(1) 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 ... John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. ...   (born June 6, 1956, in Stockholm, Sweden) is a former World No. ... Arthur Bud Collins (b. ... Fourth of July redirects here. ...

Versions in other languages

Bengali lyrics

The song Laal jhuti kakatua, set to the Yankee Doodle/Lucy Locket melody, is a favorite among the Bengali people. It goes: The Bengali people are the ethnic community from Bengal (divided between India and Bangladesh) on the Indian subcontinent with a history dating back four millennia. ...

Bengali lyrics English translation

Laal jhuti kakatua
dhorechhey je bayena
Chai taar laal phite
chiruni aar ayena.

A red-tufted cockatoo
has a whim
She wants her red ribbon
comb and mirror.

The Bengali Version of Yankee Doodle was composed for the Film "Badshah" in the year 1964. The song was sang By Ranu Mukherjee, daughter of famous Bengali singer Hemanta Mukherjee.


  1. ^ STATE OF CONNECTICUT, Sites º Seals º Symbols; Connecticut State Register & Manual; retrieved on January 4, 2007

is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ...

External links

  • Library of Congress Yankee Doodle music website
  • Library of Congress Yankee Doodle historical context site
  • h2g2 Yankee Doodle Edited Guide Entry

  Results from FactBites:
Today in History: April 19 (1353 words)
By the end of the day, the colonists were singing "Yankee Doodle" and the American Revolution had begun.
Yankee Doodle is now their paean, a favorite of favorites, played in their army, esteemed as warlike as the Genadier's March — it is the lover's spell, the nurse's lullaby…it was not a little mortifying to hear them play this tune, when their army marched down to our surrender.
Fittingly, "Yankee Doodle" is also said to have been played at Yorktown, along with "The World Turned Upside Down," when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at the end of the war.
Yankee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1164 words)
Today Yankee is most often used to refer to a New Englander (in which case it may denote New England puritan and thrifty values) or someone from one of the Mid-Atlantic states.
The term "Swamp Yankee" is used in rural Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut to refer to Protestant farmers of moderate means and their descendants (as opposed to upper-class Yankees).
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
  More results at FactBites »



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