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Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Bee Song

When Linus was little, way back several months ago, we used to listen to Arthur Askey's Bee Song.

I have fond memories of the song, I remember seeing what must have been an 80 year old Askey on stage prancing around to it. This little fellow fizzed around the stage like a "human firework" (as described by Ken Dodd).

For those who don't know, Askey was a British star, born in the same year as the Queen Mother, and up until the 1960s was Liverpool's greatest export. He was the first comedy mega star, being the first to have his own major radio show. He also made films, TV and countless stage performances and  records too. His singing career started as a choir boy at the opening of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

The Bee Song is by far his most famous track, although he recorded many in a similar vein. It's still heard today in commercials, most recently for honey.

The song was possibly the first viral hit. Composer Kenneth Blain gave it to Askey, who only remembered it when he needed to fill some time in his radio show. He sang it once and forgot about it, except for people continuously coming up to him asking him when it would be sung again. After singing it again 9 months later it became a permanent fixture in his act, by popular demand.

If I was an illustrator, I'd have a go at this, it would make a great picture book. Here's the opening bit followed by Askey himself.

Oh, what a wonderful thing to be,
A healthy grown up busy busy bee;
Whiling away all the passing hours
Pinching all the pollen from the cauliflowers.
I'd like to be a busy little bee,
Being as busy as a bee can be.
Flying around the garden brightest ever seen,
Taking back the honey to the dear old queen.

(Chorus): Bz bz bz bz, honey bee, honey bee,
Bz if you like but don't sting me,
Bz bz bz bz, honey bee, honey bee,
Buzz if you like, but don't sting me!

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