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|"Old MacDonald Had a Farm"|
|"Old MacDonald Had a Farm"|
"Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is a children's song and nursery rhyme about a farmer named MacDonald (or McDonald, Macdonald) and the various animals he keeps on his farm. Each verse of the song changes the name of the animal and its respective noise. In many versions, the song is cumulative, with the noises from all the earlier verses added to each subsequent verse. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 745.
In the version commonly sung today, the lyrics allow for a substitutable animal and its respective sound.
For example, a verse using a cow as an animal and “moo” as the cow's sound:
Tune for Old McDonald Had a Farm
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Sometimes the ‘with a’ before the animal sound is dropped, which changes the third line to this:
In the 1917 book Tommy's Tunes, a collection of World War I era songs by F. T. Nettleingham, the song "Ohio (Old Macdougal Had a Farm)" has quite similar lyrics—though with a slightly different farmer's name and refrain:
The Traditional Ballad Index consider the "Tommy's Tunes" version to be the earliest known version of "Old Macdonald Had a Farm", though it cites numerous variants, some of them much older.
Two of these variants were published in Vance Randolph's Ozark Folksongs in 1980. One was "Old Missouri", sung by a Mr. H. F. Walker of Missouri in 1922, a version that names different parts of the mule rather than different animals:
A British version of the song, called "The Farmyard, or The Merry Green Fields," was collected in 1908 from a 74-year-old Mrs. Goodey at Marylebone Workhouse, London, and published in Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs.
Perhaps the earliest recorded member of this family of songs is a number from an opera called The Kingdom of the Birds, published in 1719-1720 in Thomas D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy:
The lyrics have been translated into other languages and modified slightly to fit rhythmic and cultural requirements. It is still sung as a children's song to the same tune.
An Egyptian Arabic version of the song exists, with Geddo Ali (Grandpa Ali, Egyptian Arabic: جدو على) being the farmer character.
The Italian version is Nella vecchia fattoria.
In Spanish it is En la granja de Pepito or En la vieja factoría.
In Danish it is Jens Hansen havde en bondegård (literally "Jens Hansen had a farmyard") and in Swedish it goes Per Olsson hade en bonnagård.
In Portuguese, the most common version is Na quinta do tio Manel (meaning "On the farm of Uncle Manel"), with alternate versions Seu Lobato tinha um sítio or even O velho McDonald tinha uma fazenda (literally "Old MacDonald Had a Farm").
In French, La Ferme à Maturin (literally "Maturin's Farm").
In Turkish version "Ali Baba'nın Bir Çiftliği Var" (literally: "Ali Baba Has A Farm")
In Slovene version Na kmetiji je lepo (literally: On a farm it is beautiful), at least in some versions of the song, the lyrics have been made from childish into vulgar, like a drinking song.
In Hebrew לדוד משה הייתה חווה (LaDod Moshe hayta hava) or Uncle Moshe Had a Farm. This version was translated by Avraham Broshi.
In Chinese there are several versions of the song in same tune. But the most popular is: 王老先生有块地 (Wáng lǎo xiānshēng yǒu kuài dì) or Old Mr. Wang Had Some Land.
In Japanese version ゆかいな牧場 (Yukai-na Makiba, literally: "Happy Farm"), Ichiro, Jiro and Saburo are the farmers who have animals.
In Serbian Svako jutro jedno jaje organizmu snagu daje (One egg per day gives the strength to human organism)has the same melody.
The oldest version listed in The Traditional Ballad Index is the Sam Patterson Trio's "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," released on the Edison label in 1925. This was followed by a version by Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, "Old McDonald Had a Farm" (Columbia Records, 1927) and "McDonald's Farm" by Warren Caplinger's Cumberland Mountain Entertainers (Brunswick Records, 1928). In 1954, the composition was arranged for accordion sextet and recorded for RCA Thesaurus transcriptions by John Serry, Sr. in the United States. Sophie Ellis-Bextor has performed a short excerpt of the song live. Other popular versions are by Frank Sinatra (Capitol, 1960), Harry Connick Jr., Elvis Presley (in his movie Double Trouble), Nat King Cole, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Ella Fitzgerald (on her 1967 Verve album Whisper Not)., Flatt & Scruggs, The Three Stooges, Sesame Street cast, Gene Autry, The Kelly Family and Nikki Yanofsky. The multi-platinum selling Kidsongs version recorded "A Day At Old MacDonald's Farm" for video and CD release in 1985. The Australian children's television show Play School recorded a version of this song on the album, There's A Bear In There. A rock'n'roll version was recorded by the Isley Brothers in the 50s and in 1961 it became an instrumental by the Piltdown Men as McDonald's Cave.
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