Sheet Music: Daisy Bell

TitleDaisy Bell
Alternate titlesBicycle built for two
ComposerHarry Dacre (1860–1922)
InstrumentationFlute and Piano
KeyG major
Time signature3/4
Tempo60 BPM
Performance time1:45
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (79 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (1.5 MB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (1.5 MB)
Date added2011-04-06
Last updated2011-04-06
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 1.1 (average)
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Wednesday 6 April 2011

Tune of the Day: Daisy Bell

aka “Bicycle Built for Two”

This popular piece was composed by English songwriter Harry Dacre in 1892. As David Ewen wrote in his 1966 book American Popular Songs:

When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged duty. His friend (songwriter William Jerome) remarked lightly: ‛It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.’ Dacre was so taken with the phrase ‛bicycle built for two’ that he decided to use it in a song. That song, Daisy Bell, first became successful in a London music hall, in a performance by Katie Lawrence. Tony Pastor was the first one to sing it in the United States. Its success in America began when Jennie Lindsay brought down the house with it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery early in 1892.

In 1961, the IBM 704 became the first computer to sing by singing this song. This performance made of “Daisy Bell” the single most quoted song in science fiction, and was the inspiration for the famous scene in Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the HAL 9000 computer sings the song as it is deactivated.

Thanks to Mia for suggesting this song!