Down by the Bay

Down by the Bay

"Down by the Bay" is a traditional children's song. A famous version was performed by Raffi and appears on his 1976 album Singable Songs for the Very Young. It is possibly of Greek origin: a traditional Cephalonian kantada song called "Yialo Yialo" has the same melody.

In recent years, the song had gained popularity as a campfire song in Scouting in the UK.


The song lyrics usually are as follows:

"Down by the bay, (bay, bay,)
Where the watermelons grow, (grow, grow,)
Back to my home, (home, home,)
I dare not go, (go, go,)
For if I do, (do, do,)
My mother will say:"

Usually follows some kind of variation on "Did you ever see a _____, _____ing a _____", with rhyming words, for example:

  • "Did you ever see a fox, hiding in a box?"
  • "Did you ever see a fish do a hula in a dish?"
  • "Did you ever see a snake baking a cake?"
  • "Did you ever see a cat, wearing a hat?"
  • "Did you ever see a moose, kissing a goose?"
  • "Did you ever see an ant, climbing a plant?"
  • "Did you ever see a whale, with a polka-dot tail?"
  • "Did you ever see a bear, combing his hair?"
  • "Did you ever see a llama, wearing pajamas?"
  • "Did you ever see a fly, wearing a tie?"
  • "Did you ever see a bee, that knows how to ski?"
  • "Did you ever have a time when you couldn't make a rhyme?"
  • "Did you ever see a ghost eating some toast?"
  • "Did you ever see a rhino fighting a dino?"
  • "Did you ever see a goat riding in a boat?"
  • "Did you ever see a frog walking his dog?"
  • "Did you ever see a gator with a polka-dot potater?"
  • "Did you ever see a star driving in a car?"
  • "Did you ever see a chicken get a lickin'?"
  • "Did you ever see a pig wearing a wig?"
  • "Did you ever see a mouse painting a house?"
  • "Did you ever hear a cow saying meow?"
  • "Did you ever see a rat playing baseball with a bat?"
  • "Did you ever see a fish spinning a dish?"
  • "Did you ever see a shark, playing in the dark?"
  • "Did you ever see a spoon, going to the moon?"
  • "Did you ever see a duck, driving a truck?"
  • "Did you ever see a moth, boiling some broth?"
  • "Did you ever see a flea, kicking a tree?"
  • "Did you ever see a flower, having a shower?"
  • "Did you ever see a horse, playing on a golf course?"
  • "Did you ever see an owl, folding a towel?"
  • "Did you ever see a newt wearing a suit?"
  • "Did you ever see a beetle threading a needle?"
  • "Did you ever see a skunk doing slam dunks?"
  • "Did you ever see a lizard eating some gizzards?"
  • "Did you ever see a dragon, pulling a wagon?"
  • "Did you ever see a dog writing a blog?"

..."Down by the bay." "Down by the bay." "Down by the bay." "Down by the bay!"

The variations used in the Kidsongs version are: 1.Did you ever see a baboon, holding a balloon? 2.Did you ever see a whale, with a polka dot tail? 3.Did you ever see a pig, wearing a wig? 4.Did you ever see a goat, standing on a boat? 5.Did you ever see a llama, wearing pajamas?[citation needed]

In popular culture

  • The song "Polka Dot Tail" from Ween's 1997 album The Mollusk contains lyrics taken from "Down by the Bay," including original variations on the pattern.
  • In "A Young Children's Concert with Raffi", Raffi tried to say "Did you ever see an apple wearing a bapple?" and "Did you ever see an orange eating a blouse?" After the audience laughed Raffi said, "That doesn't quite make it. Did you ever, uh..." Then he decided to sing "Did you ever had a time when you couldn't make it rhyme?".
  • In Raffi on Broadway, Raffi said, "Did you ever see a chair rolling up a hill? Down by..." Michael Creber and Connie Lebeau both said "No". After a long pause, Raffi said, "Did you ever see a guitar going shopping? Down by..." Michael and Connie said "No" again. After another long pause Connie said, "It doesn't rhyme". Then Raffi decided to sing the last line like he did in his first concert video.
  • Sillywhim, the Jingleheimers and the Froogy Frogs sang this song in "Wee Sing in Sillyville".
  • In the movie The Guns of Navarone, the Greek version of the song is sung during the wedding scene.

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