“Where Did You Get That Hat?”


The singer, to inherit his grandfather's property, is required to wear grandfather's hat. Now, wherever he goes, people cry out to him, "Where did you get that hat?... Isn't it a nobby one, and just the proper style...."

Supplemental text

Where Did You Get That Hat?
  Complete text(s)

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From Sigmund Spaeth, Read 'Em and Weep (revised edition), pp. 137-138.

Now how I came to get this hat 'tis very strange and funny:
Grand father died and left to me his property and money.
And when the will it was read out, they told me straight and flat,
If I would have his money, I must always wear his hat!

Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?
Isn't it a nobby one, and just the proper style?
I would like to have one just the same as that!
Wherever I go, they shout, "Hello! Where did you get that hat?"

If I go to the op'ra house in the op'ra season,
There's someone sure to shout at me, without the slightest reason.
If I go to a "chowder club," to have a jolly spree;
There's someone in the party, who is sure to shout at me: [Chorus]

At twenty-one I thought I would to my sweetheart be married,
The people in the neighborhood had said too long we'd tarried.
So off to church we went right quick, determined to be wed;
I had not long been in there, when the parson to me said: [Chorus]


According to Gilbert, Sullivan, a blackface minstrel, found a very tall hat one day while rummaging through his parents' attic. He being short, he thought the tall hat would make a humorous addition to his act. To test this, he went out one day wearing the hat. A gang of urchins harassed him, asking "Where did you get that hat?" Hence this song.

We should note, however, that there are variations on this legend: All agree that Sullivan found a hat and tried it in his act -- but according to James J. Geller, the humor lay in the fact that the hat was small and Sullivan quite hefty; the hat didn't fit him. - RBW


  • NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(97b), "Where Did You Get That Hat," Poet's Box (Glasgow), c. 1880-1900


  • Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, "Where Did You Get That Hat" (Columbia 15097-D, 1926)
  • Edith Perrin, "Where Did You Get That Hat?" [excerpt?] (on USWarnerColl01)


  1. Geller-Famous, pp. 42-44, "Where Did You Get That Hat?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 137-138, "Where Did You Get That Hat?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Gilbert, p. 151, "Where Did You Get That Hat?" (1 text)
  4. ST SRW137 (Full)
  5. Roud #4877
  6. BI, SRW137


Author: Joseph J. Sullivan
Earliest date: 1888 (Copyright)