What Did Delaware, Boys?

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Information About What Did Delaware, Boys?

Official name is "Delaware', written by Irving Gordon. It came out in 1959 and referenced 15 state names. It was a major hit for Perry Como.

Gordon had earlier written 'Mister and Mississippi' in 1951, which scored high on the Billboard sales charts for both Patti Page and Dennis Day. It was about a wanderer on the Mississippi River who didn't remember his parents and said, "Mister and Mississippi made me feel at home".

In "What Did Delaware, Boys?' Gordon expanded humorous puns on state names into a full song, and other states have been added in new versions since then.

Gordon was a prolific composer of popular songs who wrote for many performers in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His work ranged from the fun and frivolous, like "What did Delaware, Boys?' to leading standards and romantic ballads.

In 1938 he wrote the lyrics to 'Prelude to a Kiss'. to music composed by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills. Gordon won a Grammy for his song 'Unforgettable' recorded by Nat King Cole in 1951. Decades later it was electronically mixed into a duet with Cole's daughter, Natalie, and it won three awards at the 1992 Grammy Awards, including Best Song and Best Record of the Year.

This song came over to England from the USA during World War II and was a favourite on the radio at the time. The words have changed a little since then.

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

You can use these additional lyrics to round out your US states

Why did Ohi-oh! boys,
Why did Ohi-oh!?
Why did Ohi-oh!, boys,
Why did Ohi-oh!?
Why did Ohi-oh!, boys,
Why did Ohi-oh!?
I ask you now as a personal friend,
Why did Ohi-oh!?

She heard an Illi-noise, boys,
She heard an Illi-noise.
She heard an Illi-noise, boys,
She heard an Illi-noise.
She heard an Illi-noise, boys,
She heard an Illi-noise.
I tell you now as a personal friend,
She heard an Illi-noise.

How did Connecti-cut, boys,
How did Connecti-cut?
How did Connecti-cut, boys,
How did Connecti-cut?
How did Connecti-cut, boys,
How did Connecti-cut?
I ask you now as a personal friend,
How did Connecti-cut?

She used her New Hamp-shears, boys,
She used her New Hamp-shears.
She used her New Hamp-shear, boys,
She used her New Hamp-shears.
She used her New Hamp-shears, boys,
She used her New Hamp-shears.
I tell you now as a personal friend,
She used her New Hamp-shears.

Why was Pennsyl-vain, boys,
Why was Pennsyl-vain?
Why was Pennsyl-vain, boys,
Why was Pennsyl-vain?
Why was Pennsyl-vain, boys,
Why was Pennsyl-vain?
I ask you now as a personal friend,
Why was Pennsyl-vain?

She looked down on Lousy-ann, boys,
She looked down on Lousy-ann.
She looked down on Lousy-ann, boys,
She looked down on Lousy-ann.
She looked down on Loosey-ann, boys,
She looked down on Lousy-ann.
I tell you now as a personal friend,
She looked down on Lousy-ann.

What did Massa-chew, boys,
What did Massa-chew?
What did Massa-chew, boys,
What did Massa-chew?
What did Massa-chew, boys,
What did Massa-chew?
I ask you now as a personal friend,
What did Massa-chew?

Just a moment and I'll ask-her, boys,
Just a moment and Al-ask-a.
Just a moment and Al-ask-a, boys,
Just a moment and Al-ask-a.
Just a moment and Al-ask-a, boys,
Just a moment and Al-ask-a.
I tell you now as a personal friend,
Just a moment and Al-ask-a.

What did Ala-bam, boys,
What did Ala-bam?
What did Ala-bam, boys,
What did Ala-bam?
What did Ala-bam, boys,
What did Ala-bam?
I ask you now as a personal friend,
What did Ala-bam?

She bammed that big Tex-ass, boys,
She bammed that big Tex-ass.
She bammed that big Tex-ass, boys,
She bammed that big Tex-ass.
She bammed that big Tex-ass, boys,
She bammed that big Tex-ass.
I tell you now as a personal friend,
She bammed that big Tex-ass.

This additional stanza can complete your states song

What did Io-weigh, boys
She weighed a Washing-ton, boys.
Where has Michi-gone, boys?
She's gone to see Georgie, boys.
What did Mass- shew, boys?
He chewed New Mexi-Chow, boys.

Here's a shorter version that you might want to use for a little bit of fun

Where has Oregon, boys,
Where has Oregon?
If you want Alaska,
(I'll-ask-a) where she's gone.
She went to pay her Texas
She went to pay her Texas
She went to pay her Texas,
That's where she has gone.

Listen to this song's music

50 Comments

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Sallie, United States

16 June 2014 at 2:16pm

We sang it as what did Ohi-owe boys? She owed her back Taxes, (Texas). That gets rid of anything objectionable. Also it was what did Massa shoot, but I can't remember which state was the answer.

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Kelly, United States

17 December 2013 at 10:01pm

Heard in the fifties. How did Wisconsin boys? He stole a new brass key, too bad that Arkansas boys, and so did Tennessee. It made poor floridie, you see; she died in Missouri? She died in Missouri boys, she died in Missouri. Where has Oregon (etc)' she went to pay her Texas (etc). Why did Califonia, was she all alone? (Etc) she called to say Hawayia. (Etc). What did Delaware to the county fair, she wore her brand New Jersey. What did Iowa. She weighed a Washington. (Etc) use you imagination and have fun.

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Wade, United States

16 May 2013 at 10:15pm

I remember Mom singing this song when I was a kid, I'm 60 now. Her Mom taught her. I like it. Not inappropriate at all. Even the mythological book the bible has ass in it. Get over it.

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Ryan, United States

25 April 2013 at 2:27am

its Where has Oregon, Where has Oregon? Where has Oregon, Where has Oregon? Where has Oregon, boys, Where has Oregon? I ask you as a friend of mine, Where has Oregon? She went to pay her Taxes She went to pay her Taxes She went to pay her Taxes She went to pay her Taxes She went to pay her Taxes She went to pay her Taxes i tell you now as a friend of mine She went to pay her Taxes

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Karen, United States

26 March 2013 at 7:19pm

This is not a children's song, and it wasn't written in 1959. My mother is 95 and learned it when she was a teenager (somewhere in the 1930s.) I remember singing it in the car in the early 1950s, too. Lighten up about that one word, for heaven's sake. As Annette points out, children learn--and say--it and far worse words at school and among their friends. Besides, who says you have to sing every single verse of the song? It's still a cute song...just leave out that verse!

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Samantha, Australia

23 February 2013 at 11:35pm

the word ass that is not a children song and plus who ever wrote this song is a bitch.

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Annette, United States

25 January 2013 at 12:37am

Ass? Really, I am 70 yrs. old and I remember that song. Ass is not a vulgar name when you compare it to so many other words the children use today especially at school. Yes your children curse at school. If you think ass is bad you should here the filth that comes out of their mouths when your are not around you would die. Yea, I know. A lot of parents will say my kids never hear words like ass, sure they don't. GET OVER THE WORD ASS! teach them to ignore profanity. EDUCATE, EDUCATE!

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Libby, United States

7 August 2012 at 6:23pm

This is obviously not a children's song, but an army marching song. Note the use of "boys" common name for soldiers up to WWII- also-original song covered all the 50 states- an obvious need to build unity in the ranks of soldiers. I bet if you looked at when and where it originated-it was during a war.

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Wade, United States

20 April 2012 at 12:59am

I'd like to give a Score greater than '1'!

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Wade, United States

20 April 2012 at 12:56am

Hey. It's one on the most "fun" novelty songs there is. (Children's song? The commonality of "opinions" and "donkey-holes" -- everyone has one.) 1959 would be about right. "We" got an Interstate system. Anyway, I'm glad someone was listening.

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Bug, United States

9 April 2012 at 9:42pm

i agree with you amanda

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Sue, United States

5 March 2012 at 11:10pm

Have been going on several sites and have found lines for 28 states

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Crksgirl, United States

5 February 2012 at 9:34pm

This is such a great song & it gives me good memories of my granny driving us to Illinois for our family reunion. We that were in the car would sing this song. Thanks for sharing.

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Jill, Australia

19 January 2012 at 8:21am

I was born and brought up in Scotland and remember a great aunt teaching this song to me when I was about 4 or 5, in 1960. I wouldn't hesitate to sing it to any one of my 8 grandchildren! It's fun!

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Nara, United States

26 November 2011 at 2:29pm

I seem to remember the Kingston Trio doing this song, back in the 50s or early 60s

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Graham, Glasgow, United Kingdom

9 October 2011 at 12:36pm

Magic, I used this song to EDUCATE my wife on your States.. :-) so, it's an educational tool as well now..

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Janet, United States

24 August 2011 at 5:37am

Thank you for the lyrics. I could only remember Delaware, and of course New Jersey, we were singing just that first line and since I was the one who started it was put in charge of finding all of the lyrics to the song. It's a fun song and if you're going to emphasize the word ass then children will think there is something wrong with the word. Grow up people, ass is an animal and short for jackass.

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Lou, United States

12 August 2011 at 4:02am

I am delighted to find the words to this song I sang as a child. I really did not expect to fine it when I Googled it. I will teach it to my grandchildren and great grandchildren !

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Ann, United States

30 March 2011 at 1:33am

Great song. I learned it at church camp in the late l940's. Love it.

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Norman, United States

31 January 2011 at 2:15pm

I heard it was a marching tune used in one of the World Wars, which would explain the foul language.

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.