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Itsy Bitsy Tennie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Brian Hyland Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Novelty Song

Brian Hyland came from Woodhaven Queens in New York City. As a child he loved music; he played the clarinet and guitar and sang in the local church choir. At 14, he started a doo-wop group called the DelFis. Although the group wasn’t a success, Brian got a taste of the recording studio while recording their demo and loved it. He worked at recording and eventually got good enough to be signed by Kapp Records. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Hyland had a monster hit at 16 with the novelty song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Poka Dot Bikini.” The song was written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance , who also wrote “Catch a Falling Star” and “Johnny Angel,”  among other hits. This novelty record  about a girl’s self-consciousness about wearing her bikini soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling a then unheard-of million copies in a month and eventually more than two million total copies. The song is performed in a cha-cha rhythm, punctuated by a wild cowbell part throughout the song.

The bikini is attributed to Louis Réard, who was actually a French car engineer. He was running his mother’s lingerie boutique in Paris in 1946 and invented the two-piece swimsuit that exposed the navel . He named it after the Bikini Atoll atom bomb test, because he believed his bathing suit would cause an explosion of excitement. Oo la la. However, it took until the 1950s and 1960s to become popular in the United States.

Notable women in the history of the bikini in the doo-wop era include  the following: Brigitte Bardot; Ursula Andress in Dr. No; Marilyn Monroe; Jayne Mansfield; Gina Lollobrigida; Jane Russell; the Beach Party movies (although Annette Funicello dressed modestly even for the beach); and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.

Hyland has recorded and performed throughout the decades. In our doo-wop era, he was on American Bandstand and The Jackie Gleason Show. He also toured with Dick Clark in the Caravan of Stars. He had a big hit in 1962 with the Peter Udell and Gary Geld song “Sealed with a Kiss.” Hyland continues to perform live internationally, often with his son Bodi on drums.

Here are the lyrics to “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland:

She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was as nervous as she could be
She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was afraid that somebody would see

Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini
So in the locker she wanted to stay

Two, three, four, stick around, we’ll tell you more

She was afraid to come out in the open (ba-da-dup)
And so a blanket around her, she wore (ba-da-dup)
She was afraid to come out in the open (ba-da-dup)
And so she sat bundled up on the shore

Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polk- dot bikini
So in the blanket she wanted to stay

Two, three, four, stick around, we’ll tell you more

Now she’s afraid to come out of the water (ba-da-dup)
And I wonder what she’s gonna do (ba-da-dup)
Yes, she’s afraid to come out of the water (ba-da-dup)
And now the poor little girl’s turning blue

Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini
So in the water she wanted to stay

From the locker to the blanket
From the blanket to the shore
From the shore to the water
Guess there isn’t anymore

For another song by Brian Hyland: “Sealed with a Kiss.”

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop. Hope you enjoyed “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland.

1 Comment

  1. Sue says:

    Love the flip side of Itsy Bitsy, was Don’t Dilly Dally Sally

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