Monday, March 17, 2014

At the Music Hall: “I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers,” 1909

Sure, I've got rings on my fingers, 
Bells on my toes, 
Elephants to ride upon, 
My little Irish Rose 
So, come to your Nabob 
And next Patrick's Day 
Be Mistress Mumbo Jumbo Jijjiboo J. O'Shea 

Written in 1909, with lyrics by Weston and Barnes, and music by Maurice Scott, “I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers,” quickly became a popular song of the late Edwardian era. The song tells the tale of an Irishman, Jim O’Shea who finds himself a castaway in the East Indies. The natives are delighted by O’Shea’s ginger hair and bright smile and make him their leader whereupon he writes to his girlfriend to invite her to join him there.

The lyrics borrow a line from a popular nursery rhyme:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.

The song debuted in the musical comedy, “The Midnight Sons” and was popularized by stage star Blanche Ring.

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