The Origins of the Nursery Rhyme 'Bingo'

Article published on December 15, 2017 01:28pm

We're all so preoccupied with bingo here at BingoPort that we find it naturally creeping into every aspect of our lives. One example of this is our music taste! 

Colourful bingo letters

We're sure there are loads of songs that you naturally associate with bingo—there are tons of them that we hear down at the halls. However, one song that might not immediately spring to mind is the well-known nursery rhyme 'Bingo'—even though it shares its title with our favourite game!

For more fusions of bingo and music, why not check out these songs with tenuous bingo links? Or, how about these famous tunes with a bingo twist?

We thought it would be good fun to tell you all about the origins of this classic folk song. But, first of all, let's recap the lyrics!

The lyrics to the nursery rhyme 'Bingo'

A dog in a garden

There was a farmer 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 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 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.

There was a farmer had a dog,
and Bingo was his name-o.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
And Bingo was his name-o.

There was a farmer had a dog,
and Bingo was his name-o.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
And Bingo was his name-o.

There was a farmer had a dog,
and Bingo was his name-o.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
And Bingo was his name-o.

Origins of the song

A cute dog on a beach

Could this dog be called bingo?

The origins of this song aren't actually that easy to discover. It's simply been sung for so long that very few historical records exist to tell us who first wrote the song, for instance.

What we do know is that the song probably came from Scotland, and a version of it was first published in 1780 in London.

However, this version was actually very different to the song that we all know and love today. It wasn't even called 'BINGO'! Instead, it was known as 'The Farmer's Dog Leapt o'er the Stile', and it went a little bit like this:

The farmer's dog leapt o'er the stile,
His name was little Bingo,
The farmer's dog leapt o'er the stile,
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.

It was only through decades of repetition and subtle changes that this song slowly developed into the popular nursery rhyme of the modern day. We hope this has been an interesting bit of trivia, and a welcome break from playing bingo! 

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