“I Had But Fifty Cents”


The singer takes a girl to the ball. He thinks, since she is so delicate, that it is safe to take her to a restaurant, even though he has but fifty cents. But she orders a huge meal. The singer, unable to pay, is beaten up by the restaurant staff


A piece entitled "Fifty Cents," by Billy Mortimer and Dan Lewis, was published in 1881. Paul Stamler has verified that this is the same song. - PJS, RBW

Cross references


  • Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers, "When I Had But Fifty Cents" (Victor V-40129, 1929)
  • Bill Chitwood & his Georgia Mountaineers, "I Had But Fifteen Cents" (OKeh 45131, 1927)
  • Otto Gray & his Cowboy Band, "I Had But Fifty Cents" (Vocalion 5256, c. 1928)
  • Jack Golding, "I Had But Fifty Cents" (Champion 16072 [as Jerry Ellis]/Supertone 9711 [as Jack Edwards], 1930)
  • Peg Moreland, "When I Had But Fifty Cents" (Victor V-40209, 1930)
  • Riley Puckett, "When I Had But Fifty Cents" (Columbia 15015-D, 1925; rec. 1924)


  1. Randolph 485, "I Had But Fifty Cents" (1 text)
  2. Gilbert, p. 121, "I Had But Fifty Cents" (1 text)
  4. Roud #2798
  5. BI, R485


Alternate titles: “Fifty Cents”
Author: Words: Billy Mortimer; Music: Dan Lewis
Earliest date: 1881 (sheet music, with the title "Fifty Cents")
Found in: US(So)