“Around Her Neck She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”


The girl wears a yellow ribbon around her neck "For her lover who was far, far away." In May and December she scatters yellow flowers on a grave "for her soldier who was far, far away." (In other versions she may be pregnant and face abandonment)


The versions of this song I know run the gamut. Arnett's is a lament for a lost soldier. In Johnson's text, she has had a child by the missing man. In the Digital Tradition version, the song is angry, and the child is clearly illegitimate, and her father is prepared to guard her with a shotgun. The latter version is considered by the DT editors to be an "All around My Hat" variant -- but it seems to be simply a stronger version of the Johnson text. - RBW

I think this one and "All Around My Hat" are, at the least, siblings, and more likely fraternal twins. - PJS

That they share genetic material is clear. But they have also evolved independently, and this one exists in far more diverse forms. - RBW

Same tune

  • The Scarlet Bonnet (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 159)

Cross references


  1. Arnett, p. 149-150, "Around Her Neck She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. JHJohnson, p. 115, "Yaller Ribbon" (1 text)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 145, "Round Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" (1 text)
  5. Roud #10642, etc.
  6. BI, Arn149


Author: unknown
Found in: US