Mad Dogs and Englishmen (song)

Mad Dogs and Englishmen (song)

A song written by Noël Coward and first performed in "The Third Little Show" at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on 1 June 1931, by Beatrice Lillie. The following year it was used in the revue Words And Music and also released in a "studio version". It then became a signature feature in Coward's cabaret act. [ [ Songfacts] ] The song is especially known for the line "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" with which most verses begin and end. According to Sheridan Morley, Coward wrote the song while driving from Hanoi to Saigon "without pen, paper, or piano". Coward himself elucidated: "I wrestled in my mind with the complicated rhythms and rhymes of the song until finally it was complete, without even the aid of pencil and paper. I sang it triumphantly and unaccompanied to my travelling companion on the verandah of a small jungle guest house. Not only Jeffrey, but the gecko lizards and the tree frogs gave every vocal indication of enthusiasm". [The Complete Illustrated Lyrics, by Noel Coward]

The Noonday Gun

The lyric :"In Hong Kong, they strike a gong, and fire off a noonday gun":"To reprimand each inmate, who's in late" refers to the Noonday Gun opposite the Excelsior Hotel in Hong Kong, which is still fired every day at noon by a member of Jardines. In 1968, Coward visited Hong Kong and himself fired the gun.

A 45-rpm version of the song appeared on the Columbia Records label in the United States, along with "(Let's Do It) Let's Fall in Love", and a third song (two songs on one side, one song on the other).


External links

[ Lyrics] (

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