"Bill Bailey..." was copyrighted 1902 by Howlery Haviland, and 1938 by Jerry Vogel Music. Writing in The Singing Bourgeois...
, Derek Scott points out that the 1902 edition contained no ragtime rhythms. The song has long since become a standard, and was recorded in 1902 by both Arthur Collins on Columbia and Silas Leachman on Victoria; both had good sales, although whatever the dialect, this is clearly a song that is best sung by a woman. Later recordings include Della Reese from her 1961 album Special Delivery
and a 1969 live duet between Ella Fitzgerald and Jimmy Durante at the Hollywood Palace, (an alluring combination). The song has also been popular as an instrumental.
The sheet music has been widely published, including an arrangement c1988 for brass band by Eric Hughes.