Old McDonald Had a Farm

Old MacDonald Had a Farm is a popular American children's song whose author is unknown. The same tune and words of the same style are in the North American song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". The song depicts the animals of the farm, which will continue to grow as the song continues.

The first Finnish recording of the song was made by Cooers Cow in 1952. The best-known version has been recorded by Reino Helismaa on February 17, 1952, and according to the Sound Record Database, Helismaa would have made Finnish words, but there are several lyrics in different names versions.


The origin of the song is unclear. The first credible record is in the 1917 Frederick Thomas Nettleingham songbook. There the farmer's name is McDougal, and the farm is in Ohio (the ee-i-ee-io acoustic constant may have been garbled). The roots are seen in the song of the English composer Tom Durfey from 1720, which reads one verse "Boo here and boo there and boo everywhere". The first surviving recording of Old MacDonald's Snake and Farm was made by country violinist and singer Gid Tanner for Columbia Records in 1927. Since then, many well-known performers such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Kelly Family or Nikki Yanoff.

The song was later interpreted by the Piccolo Coro dell'Antoniano.

The classic version of the Cetra Quartet was also used as the theme song of the homonymous transmission conducted by Giorgio Celli and broadcast on Rai from 17 June to 2 September 1991.


The piece is characterized by a simple and linear melodic line. The structure of the piece is similar to that of many folk songs and nursery rhymes, with a series of accompanied strophes which, during their enunciation, take up part of the previous stanzas, becoming increasingly longer and often difficult to remember.


In the usual version sung today, the lyrics take into account an animal being interchangeable and sound each.

Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO.
And on that farm he had a [animal name], EIEIO,
With a [animal noise twice] here and a [animal noise twice] there
Here a [animal noise], there a [animal noise], everywhere a [animal noise twice]
Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO.

For example, one function uses a cow as an animal, and moo as a cow sound will:

Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO.
And on that farm he had a cow, EIEIO.
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO.

Original version

The first known version of the song according to the Traditional Ballad Index is the one reported in the book "Tommy's Tunes" of 1917, a collection of songs from the First World War by FT Nettleingham. In this book the rhyme is reported with the title "Ohio (Old Macdougal Had a Farm)", and has a very similar text though with a slightly different refrain.

The first official recording of the song with the title and current text is by the Sam Patterson Trio, published by the Edison record label in 1925. This was followed by the version by Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, (Columbia Records, 1927) and "McDonald's Farm" by Warren Caplinger's Cumberland Mountain Entertainers (Brunswick Records, 1928). The new text of the song, which from then on will become the standard one.

Later other versions of the song were recorded by numerous authors including: Frank Sinatra (Capitol, 1960), Harry Connick Jr., Elvis Presley (in the film Fermi tutti, let's start again!), Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald (in the Whisper Not album from 1967), Flatt & Scruggs, The Three Stooges, Sesame Street, Gene Autry, The Kelly Family and Nikki Yanofsky.


The song Menti brulicanti, theme song of the television program by Antonio Ricci of Canale 5 Striscia the news of the 2004-2005 period interpreted by Gabibbo, makes a crippling several times of the song of the Quartetto Cetra saying ia-ia-io.

The Italian band Elio e le Storie Tese has produced a demented reinterpretation of the song entitled Nella vecchia azienda agricola, and included in the album Elio Samaga Hukapan Kariyana Turu.

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Old McDonald Had a Farm
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