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Early One Morning



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This 16th century ballad tells the story of a "poor maiden," Mary who has been ill-used by her lover and is abandoned. One of the best-known traditional folksongs in Britain, which has been sung by generations of schoolchildren, little is known of it's origins though some scholars believe it might possibly be derived from an earlier song "The Forsaken Lover." A well-known early version is in Popular Music of the Olden Time (1855-1859) printed by William Chappell, in which he names "Early One Morning" as "one of the three most popular songs among the servant-maids of the present generation."
This folk song is particularly notable for its use in a number of well known arrangements. In the UK its usage in the opening bars of the "BBC Radio 4 UK Theme" by Fritz Spiegl, which until April 2006 was played every morning at 5.30 am is the best known.
The song has been used in a number of television programs. It was sung by Samantha in the TV series Bewitched, by Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright) in "The wooing of Abigail Jones" episode of the TV series Bonanza and was used as a trigger for the Vampire Spike in the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was also the theme song for the children's CBC TV show The Friendly Giant, which run from 1958 to 1985. In the UK, it was Frank Spencer's choice of song in the BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
The song has also featured several times in the movies. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "Early One Morning" is played in the background at the beginning of the tale of Sir Launcelot, just before his assistant is 'mortally wounded' with an arrow. Also Hayley Mills and Nancy Olson sung this song in the 1960 Disney film Pollyanna.
Other medieval folk songs that have retained their popularity into the 21st century include "Greensleeves" and "Scarborough Fair."
More Traditional songs
More songs used in TV shows
More songs used in movies

Comments (4):

I did not press enter ~ lol ~ . . . who could break down the musical instruments Treg Brown used in Donald Duck - i.e. As Donald prepares to go down the hill on his toboggan, the whirling sound effect synchronized to winding up his tail, was made by a simple wooden slide whistle with a stick. Blowing the whistle while pushing the stick in and out, a piston-type action, caused the pitch to rise and fall through a change in the size of resonant chamber. That is the only one I have figured out in the cartoon ~ lol. However, I would really appreciate help in figuring out the types of instruments used in the Friendly Giant's version of "Early One Morning." Thank you so very much and God bless you - caroline in Ontario
- caroline, Keswick, ON
I would greatly appreciate help figuring out what all the musical instruments are the Friendly Giant tv show's theme song "Early One Morning." I am writing an immense autobiography. Just as an aside I would be so grateful if you also know someone (I certainly cannot find it on the net) who could break down
- caroline, Keswick, ON
It was Buffy the Vampire slayer that made me like this song, because I love Spike.
- Danielle, Houston, TX
The Friendly Giant!
That's my memory of 'Early One Morning".
- Reg, Kemptville, ON, -
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