Daisy Bell

"Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" is a popular song, written in 1892 by British songwriter Harry Dacre, with the well-known chorus, "Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I'm half crazy / all for the love of you", ending with the words, "a bicycle built for two".

"Daisy Bell"
Songwriter(s)Harry Dacre

The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII.[1][2]

It is the earliest song sung using computer speech synthesis by the IBM 7094 in 1961, a feat which was referenced in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).


"Daisy Bell" was composed by Harry Dacre in 1892. As David Ewen writes in American Popular Songs:[3]

When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged import duty. His friend William Jerome, another songwriter, 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 soon used 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 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.

The song was originally recorded and released by Dan W. Quinn in 1893.[4]


Even in its original form this light-hearted song contains several puns ("tandem" as describing both a tandem bicycle and matrimony, bell/belle, weal/wheel, etc.), and almost from the beginning the song lent itself to parody and satire, with a great number of additional verses having been penned, ranging from the mildly humorous to the outright obscene. For example, the same year the song was published, an "answer" chorus appeared:

Michael, Michael, here is my answer true
You're half crazy if you think that that will do
If you can't afford a carriage
There won't be any marriage
Cause I'll be switched if I'll get hitched
On a bicycle built for two

Sometimes the songwriter's name—"Harry"—was used instead of "Michael" in this chorus.[5]


There is a flower within my heart, Daisy, Daisy!
Planted one day by a glancing dart,
Planted by Daisy Bell!
Whether she loves me or loves me not,
Sometimes it's hard to tell;
Yet I am longing to share the lot
Of beautiful Daisy Bell!

CHORUS. (a little faster.)
Daisy, Daisy,
Give me your answer, do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two!

We will go "tandem" as man and wife, Daisy, Daisy!
"Ped'ling" away down the road of life, I and my Daisy Bell!
When the road's dark we can both despise P'liceman and "lamps" as well;
There are "bright lights" in the dazzling eyes Of beautiful Daisy Bell!

I will stand by you in "wheel" or woe, Daisy, Daisy!
You'll be the bell(e) which I'll ring you know! Sweet little Daisy Bell!
You'll take the "lead" in each "trip" we take, Then if I don't do well;
I will permit you to use the brake, My beautiful Daisy Bell!

In technology and culture

Computing and technology

  • In 1961, an IBM 704 at Bell Labs was programmed to sing "Daisy Bell" in the earliest demonstration of computer speech synthesis.[6]
  • In 1974, auditory researchers used the melody of "Daisy Bell" for the first demonstration of "pure dichotic" (two-ear only) perception: they encoded the melody in a stereophonic signal in such a way that it could be perceived when listening with both ears but not with either ear alone.[7]
  • In 1985, Christopher C. Capon created a Commodore 64 program named "Sing Song Serenade", which caused the Commodore 1541 floppy disk drive to emit the tune of "Daisy Bell" directly from its hardware by rapidly moving the read/write head.[8]
  • In 1999, a computer software called BonziBuddy sang Daisy Bell if the user asked it to sing. The green parrot later became a purple gorilla in version 3.0.[9]
  • Microsoft's personal assistant, Cortana, may sing the first line of Daisy when asked to sing a song.[10][11]


  • Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke witnessed the IBM 704 demonstration and referred to it in the 1968 novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the HAL 9000 computer sings "Daisy Bell" during its gradual deactivation.[12]
  • In the 1986 film The Hitcher, the character John Ryder hums the song while being transported on the prison bus.
  • It is the IBM 704 connection to which the song most likely owes its appearance in the film The Theory of Everything (2014), a drama about the life of the world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, whereupon the fictionalized Hawking types out part of the song's lyric, in order to have the words subsequently "spoken", utilising his iconic text-to-synthesised-speech device.
  • In the 2005 animated film Robots, the character Bigweld sings "Daisy Bell" briefly while Rodney repairs him.

Musical recordings


  • The tune was played as the lead-in to Aunt Daisy's radio broadcasts in New Zealand, which ran from 1930 until her death in 1963.[14]


  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" it is sung by the onstage performer.
  • In the This Is America, Charlie Brown episode The NASA Space Station it is sung by Peppermint Patty while demonstrating an exercise bike on the station.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" (8 September 2012), Solomon's robots sing the first line of the song when deactivated by the Doctor.
  • In the 2015 TV series Scream, the song is sung by a serial killer.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode, "Dude, Where's my Eggman", Cubot sings this song in order to gain money. However, he is unsuccessful.
  • In season 12 of Midsomer Murders, episode 4, "The Glitch", features this song, although the final line of the chorus is changed to be "a bicycle made for two" rather than "built for two".
  • In the Supernatural episode "Thin Lizzie" (Season 11, Episode 5), the song plays on an old record player during the murder of a couple at the beginning of the episode.
  • In 2016, model Daisy Lowe and her professional partner Aljaz Skorjanec danced a Viennese Waltz to "Daisy Bell" on the fourteenth series of the BBC hit show Strictly Come Dancing, earning Lowe her highest score in the competition.
  • In season four, episode 11 of Futurama, titled "Love and Rocket," Bender sings the song over a montage featuring a romance he had with the Planet Express Ship. The episode is inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • In season 2, episode 8 of Class of 3000, titled "Big Robot on Campus", B.R.O.C, a robot created by Philly Phil sings the song as he deactivates after falling off a biplane.
  • In The Alienist episode, "A Fruitful Partnership", a boy prostitute sings this song at Paresis Hall.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh!_Duel_Monsters abridged series episode "Fanservice", Solomon & Kaiba sing a duet parody of this song when sealed into cards by Pegasus.
  • In the finale of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Ms. Mead's (Kathy Bates') robotic head sings the song as it shuts down, after Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) causes her body to explode.
  • In season 2 episode 10 of ‘’Future Man’’, a holographic conscious upload of Stu (Haley Joel Osment) sings this song while (“The Pointed Circle”) are making an attempt to shut him down.
  • In season 5 episode 8 of Z Nation, Charlie, a half-dead man, gives his brains to eat to talkers. As his head goes empty, he sings the song. The talkers who ate is brain suddenly sing with him.
  • In the Stranger Things episode "The Mall Rats," the tune appears on a kiddie ride in Starcourt Mall.


Video Games

  • In 2001's Batman: Vengeance, the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) sings the beginning of the song's chorus when attempting to spray Batman with acid from the flower on his lapel.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the character Joker makes a reference to the AI system "EDI" singing "Daisy Bell".
  • In We Happy Few, various characters in Lud's Holm sing "Daisy Bell".
  • In 2010: the graphic action game for the ColecoVision, the song plays during the programming screen, possibly in reference to its use in the original 2001 film, whose sequel the game is based on.
  • In Robo Recall, robots can be heard reciting part of the chorus of Daisy Bell upon death.
  • In Thimbleweed Park, when one of the FBI agents uses the radio in the sheriff's office, one of the dialogue options lets him/her sing a few lines of the chorus.


  1. Carroll, Leslie. Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through the Extramarital Adventures That Rocked the British Monarchy. Edward VII and Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick 1861–1938: NAL Trade. ISBN 0-451-22398-5.
  2. "Local history: The socialist socialite". BBC. 22 May 2009.
  3. Ewen, David (1966). American Popular Songs. Random House. ISBN 0-394-41705-4.
  4. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890–1954. Record Research. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. Cray, Ed (1992). The Erotic Muse. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-2520-178-11.
  6. National Recording Registry Adds 25  The Library Today (Library of Congress)
  7. Kubovy, M.; Cutting, J. E.; McGuire, R. M. . (1974). "Hearing with the Third Ear: Dichotic Perception of a Melody without Monaural Familiarity Cues". Science. 186 (4160): 272–274. doi:10.1126/science.186.4160.272. PMID 4413641.
  8. "[CSDb] - Sing Song Serenade by Christopher C. Capon (1985)". Commodore 64 Scene Database. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  9. O’Dell, Cary. ""Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)"" (PDF). loc.gov. Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  10. Martin, Jim. "Amaze your friends with these 45 funny Cortana responses on Windows 10". Tech Advisor. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  11. Sri San (2015-08-07), Daisy Daisy, retrieved 2016-10-24
  12. "Background: Bell Labs Text-to-Speech Synthesis". bell-labs.com. Lucent Technologies. March 1997. Archived from the original on 7 April 2000.
  13. Williams, Maxwell (May 2, 2014). "Katy Perry Featured on Pop Artist Mark Ryden's $100 'Gay Nineties' Album (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  14. "Basham, Maud Ruby – Biography". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
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