The Fishin' Hole (theme to The Andy Griffith Show)

Album: American Originals (1960)


  • This is possibly the most recognized TV theme song known to mankind. It's almost impossible not to whistle along to this (if you can whistle at all). It has become a cultural icon associated with the image of Andy Griffith and Ron Howard (now an award winning director) as Andy and Opie Taylor walking on the dirt road with their cane poles on their way to the "fishin' hole." This reminds us all of a simpler time, a simpler place in American history. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington
  • The song was written specifically for the show by the composers Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, who teamed up to form the Spencer-Hagen Orchestra and write music for films and TV shows. In addition to The Andy Griffith Show, they also did the theme for Make Room for Daddy, and Hagen wrote the music for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mod Squad.

    According to Hagen, The Andy Griffith Show called for "a simple tune," so that's what they delivered. He says it was written in about 15 minutes. Hagen did the famous whistling.
  • There were lyrics written for this song, but they weren't used on the show. The words were composed by the actor Everett Sloane (who appeared on an episode of the show in 1962), and are about killing time at the fishin' hole. It begins:

    Well, now, take down your fishin' pole
    And meet me at the fishin' hole
    We may not get a bite all day
    But don't you rush away

    Andy Griffith sang this version, which later surfaced on Youtube.
  • This was used in two episodes of The Simpsons: "All About Lisa" (2008) and "Springfield Splendor" (2017).
  • Matthew McConaughey whistles some of this in the 2019 Lincoln Aviator commercial "Warm Escape," which finds him enjoying the luxuries of the car while ice fishing. It's as bizarre as it sounds.

Comments: 22

  • Me Too from SdMe too. I noticed it was a note or 1/2 note glad to k now someone else noticed.
  • Smitty from K.c. Kans.Ever notice the whistling at the beginning and end are in different keys? Wonder why?
  • Cindy from Chesterfield ScFred Lowery came to my elementary school in Ruby SC in the late 60's/early 70's and whistled the fishing hole song.
  • Dirk from Walkerton, InFred Lowery was the Whistler...I to was in Jr High at Urey middle school when he came to do a program. He was old and was the mid 70's. To say it left a lasting impression is a understatement. I've NEVER heard anyone whistle like this before or after...The motive for others claiming this are unknown to me....I can only speculate...How do I know it was Fred? You will note during the opening of Andy Griffith show when the theme song is being Whistled for a portion of the song it sounds like two (2) people are whistling ! Nope it was all Fred and I heard him do it in PERSON. It's been 40 yrs and I remember it like yesterday! You have NEVER heard anyone whistle like Fred!
  • Coy from Palestine, TxEverett Sloane who wrote the words for the song was also an exceptional character actor.
  • Steve from Bloomington, InFred Lowery came to my elementary school in Oolitic, In. in 1974 and performed at a convocation. He whistled the Andy Griffith tune as well as many other songs and told of how he was able to make it sound as if there were two whistlers during the Andy tune. He spoke of how he had performed in front of a few U.S. Presidents. I recall that he was blind and had to be led to the stage. Also, at the time I had a cast on my arm and he signed it after the convo. I felt that he was authentic.
  • Allazay from Middletown, FlI also agree with Louise from Warwick New York and I also was a friend of Jerry Duane and he often mentioned he was the whistler on the opening show
  • Mike from Jacksonville, TxFred Lowery was a friend of our family back in the mid-to-late 60's. He lived on John Street here in my hometown. My dad owned a Gulf service station, and Fred and his wife, Gracie, spent time there having their Dodge motorhome cleaned and serviced. Fred whistled like a bird and cursed like a sailor. He had a noontime program on KEBE/KOOI in the summers. For all I knew of Fred, liar was not on the list. If he said he whistled the Andy Griffith theme, I'd take that to the bank in a heartbeat. The Fishin' Hole song was whistled by Fred, so far as I'm concerned. 'Nuff said.
  • Louise from Warwick, NyI'd like to float a theory I've been thinking about in regard to all things whistled. A friend of mine, Jerry Duane, says that he is the whistler on the Andy Griffith Show theme song. He's been a professional actor, dancer, singer, voice-over artist, and whistler. His credits include the role of Hortensio in the 1958 Hallmark Hall of Fame T.V. production of 'Kiss Me, Kate', a company dancer in the Judy Garland movie, 'Summer Stock' (he's the first man in with a 'knee slide' in the number 'Get Happy,' also featured in 'That's Entertainment!'), performed as a studio singer alone and with Anne Phillip's group, 'Queen Anne's Lace' for commercial radio and T.V. spots, including one for the Pepsi campaign, 'Taste that beats the others cold! Pepsi pours it on! He also whistled for Old Spice commercials. Here's where my theory comes in. I think it's possible that Earle Hagen, Frank Lowery, and Jerry Duane each whistled a recording of "The Fishin' Hole" and that one could have been used for a pilot, one for several seasons, and so on. Get my drift? I know I've heard this theme whistled in old repeats using slightly different tempos (not just playback speeds, mind you) and with tiny differences in styling. A voice can be identified with greater surety than a whistle, I think you'll agree. I've read names of other talent who claim to have whistled the Old Spice theme and I believe them, too. It certainly is possible, don't you think?
  • Skip from San Antonio, TxI just read of Earle Hagen's death and the credit given to him for composing and whistling the theme for the Andy Griffith show. Fred Lowry visited my high school as well in the late 60's and I remember his performance vividly, along with his claim to have whistled this theme song which he said he sent from [back East] to Hollywood for the show. By golly it sure sounded authentic -- and it was pretty well imprinted in our minds from the show!
  • Alric from Biloxi, MsLike others here, I, too, saw Fred Lowery at the public school I attended. Just as others have said, he concluded the show with "The Fishin' Hole," and claimed in the introduction to the piece that we could hear him whistle this song every week. I don't think he was lying. Here's what I think happened. When Earle Hagen, the writer of the theme and music coordinator for the series, was looking for a musician to whistle the song, they looked for a contract musician, someone for hire at scale, someone who wouldn't be entitled to royalties from the weekly airplay. The performance would require an expert whistler, one good enough to perform a vivid solo. However, instead of hiring a contract musician for scale, they perhaps accidentally hired the recording artist, with an already significant catalogue of albums, Fred Lowery. Because he was a recording artist, Lowery might have been entitled to royalties from the weekly performance. I've read that Hagen claimes to have whistled it himself, but I don't believe that. Clearly the person whistling that theme is not some casual whistler. It was pitch perfect and deliberate and strong, and I heard Lowery perform it live, where he claimed it was he whistling it on the credits of the show. There is no reason for him to lie. However, there is a reason Hagen would claim otherwise.
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyDavid Cassidy's spooky/great series AMERICAN GOTHIC featured a demonic small town Southern Sheriff (Lucas Buck), portrayed by Gary Cole. In one early episode, Cole does a satirical nod to the Andy Griffith show by whistling this theme while rattling a stick against a fence as he walks along.
  • Clark from Milroy, Pa- DC, Kansas City, MO

    Yes Andy Griffith recorded the song. It's pretty cool.
  • Ron from Chicago, IlIt was Earl Hagen, according to his autobiography. Also, the guitar player was Barney Kessel.
  • Dc from Kansas City, MoOne more thing, now that it's kinda been established who the whistler is, does anyone know if he's the same guy that whistled "Sweet Georgia Brown (Harlem Globetrotters theme)"? Maybe that's a long shot, but I just figured that not many people can whistle THAT well, so maybe they were the same person.
  • Dc from Kansas City, MoWhoa! I never knew this song had lyrics. How awesome. As much as I love the whistling version, are there any recordings available with the lyrics being sung? After looking at them I think I figured out how they go with the song, but it's not the same as having a recording. It's pretty cool that I now have the option of singing this song as well as whistling. Songfacts rocks!
  • Jennifer Brinker from Cincinnati, OhI believe it was Earle Hagen. The Blind man is Fred Lowery. That's my FINAL answer!!
  • John from Portland, MeAccording to my research, Fred Lowery came to my high school but Earl Hagen whistled the theme heard on the Andy Griffith Show. John Murphy Clinton Township, Michigan.
  • John from Portland, MeThe man who whistled the theme from the Andy Griffith Show came to my high school (Portland High School in Portland, Maine) in the late sixties (I graduated in June of 1968). He was blind and he whistled many tunes and at the end of the show he said: "If you watch the Andy Griffith Show you will hear me whistle this" and he started whistling the theme and it brought the house down. If I could just remember his name, I would die happy. John Murphy Clinton Township, Michigan.
  • Lizardo from Hell, MiPlease!!! Who was the whistler
  • Todd Lakner from Friendswood, Txso who was the whistler?????
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaso who was the whistler????
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Peter Lord

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," Kiss

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," KissSong Writing

After cutting his teeth on hardcore punk videos, Paul defined the grunge look with his work on "Hunger Strike" and "Man in the Box."

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Subversive Songs Used To Sell

Subversive Songs Used To SellSong Writing

Songs about drugs, revolution and greed that have been used in commercials for sneakers, jeans, fast food, cruises and cars.

Yacht Rock Quiz

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.