“Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-e”


The words often consist of floating lyrics. The chorus, "Ta-ra-ra(-ra) Boom-de-ay," is diagnostic. Sayers' lyrics: "A sweet Tuxedo girl I see, Queen of swell society, Fond of fun as fond can be, When it's on the strict Q.T...."


Cazden et al present a list of the various authors who have claimed this piece while denying credit to any of them. (They concede the form "Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-e" to Henry J. Sayers, 1890; published in 1891 by Willis Woodward; cf. Spaeth, _Read 'em and Weep_, pp. 144-146.)

There was actually a lawsuit over the issue (Henry J. Sayers vs. Sigmund Spaeth et al, 1932). Fuld reports "Judge Robert P. Patterson later held that the music and words of the chorus were not original, but the first two verses were."

Randolph quotes Gilbert to the effect that the tune "is said to have originated in Babe Connors' famous St. Louis brothel" (!). Something very similar appears in a Strauss piece.

This uncertainty resulted in the comic parody "I'm the Man that Wrote Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay." - RBW

Same tune

  • Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay (We Have No School Today) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 102)

Cross references


  • Land Norris, "Bum Delay" (OKeh 45058, 1926)


  1. FSCatskills 144, "Ta-ra-ra-ra Boom, Hurray!" (1 text plus many fragments, 2 tunes)
  2. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 144-146, "Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-e" (1 fragmentary text)
  3. Gilbert, pp. 206-208, "Ta-ra-ra-boom-der-e" (1 text)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 25, "Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-Der-E" (1 text)
  5. Fuld-WFM, pp. 570-571+, "Ta-Ra-Ra boom-Der-E"
  6. BI, FSC144


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1888
Keywords: nonballad nonsense
Found in: US(Ap,MA,So)