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B-I-N-G-O: Sing-Along Song Video for Kids

B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O

There was a farmer who had a dog
And Bingo was his name-o.
B - I - N - G - O
And Bingo was his name-o.

The lyrics of "B-I-N-G-O" reputedly date back to William Swords, a Haymarket actor who trod the London stage around 1780. This claim is substantiated by the title on a piece of sheet music that bears the actor's name. Many songs that began as bits of ad-libbed drollery on the English stage moved on to become tavern drinking songs, and eventually worked their way down into nursery rhyme territory.

Early forms of the song referred to the farmer's dog, or even Franklyn's dog, but his name was always "little Bingo," "Bango," or "Pinto" (the last being common when the dog was said to belong to a shepherd instead of a farmer, presumably because of the white and black spotted or "pinto" dogs that were the forbears of today's border collies):

The farmer's dog leapt over the style,
His name was little Bingo,
The farmer's dog leapt over the style,
His name was little Bingo.
B with an I - I with an N,
N with a G - G with an O;
His name was little Bingo:
B-I-N-G-O!
His name was little Bingo.

The farmer lov'd a cup of good ale,
He call'd it rare good stingo,
The farmer lov'd a cup of good ale,
He call'd it rare good stingo.
S-T with an I - I with an N,
N with a G - G with an O;
He call'd it rare good stingo:
S-T-I-N-G-O!
He call'd it rare good stingo

And is this not a sweet little song?
I think it is - by jingo.
And is this not a sweet little song?
I think it is -- by jingo.
J with an I - I with an N,
N with a G - G with an O;
I think it is - by jingo:
J-I-N-G-O!
I think it is - by jingo.

In later versions, the lyrics changed slightly and clapping was added as the tune became a popular sing-along song for children. As a nursery rhyme song, verses were discarded in favor of repeating variations on the same verse:

There was a farmer who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
And Bingo was his name-o.

There was a farmer who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
(clap) I-N-G-O
(clap) I-N-G-O
(clap) I-N-G-O
And Bingo was his name-o.

There was a farmer who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
(clap) (clap)-N-G-O
(clap) (clap)-N-G-O
(clap) (clap)-N-G-O
And Bingo was his name-o.

...and so on, until by the sixth verse all the letters in B-I-N-G-O are represented by claps.

Early versions of "B-I-N-G-O" were well-known as drinking songs. Later, as the lyrics became common as a children's rhyming song, games were developed in many different English counties, with rules varying by location.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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