Nellie The Elephant

Album: Classic Children's Favourites (1956)


  • As might be deduced from its title, "Nellie The Elephant" is a novelty song, the main novelty being in the claim that she packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus. Presumably she left in a taxi after making a trunk call to a local cab firm.

    The song was written by Ralph Butler and Peter Hart. According to Butler's obituary in the London Times of April 9, 1969, it was a song that was not entirely out of character. He is said to have won an Ivor Novello award for it at the age of 70, and to have co-written both "Hey Little Hen" and "Run Rabbit Run". The award - Outstanding Novelty Song - was the same as that won by The Singing Postman ten years later (Best Novelty Song) with "Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?"
  • The original recording, running to 2 minutes 32 seconds, was made in October 1956 by Mandy Miller with an orchestra conducted by Phil Cardew; the record was produced by George Martin, who of course had a jumbo success with the Beatles. The B Side of the single was "It's Time To Dream".

    In 1982 it was recorded by the Toy Dolls - a Punk version - which was recorded in Dutch as "Fritske d'n Olifant" by WC Experience. Their version was a surprise #4 hit on the UK singles charts over the Christmas holidays.
  • Occasionally, an elephant does decide to pack its trunk and leave the circus; this happened in County Cork, Ireland, in March 2012 when a 40 year old female named Baby from Courtney's Circus waved her trunk and ran out on her trainers, but fortunately she had soon had enough of the traffic, and they were able to bring her under control. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
  • The line "on the road to Mandalay" is a quote from Rudyard Kipling's late 19th century poem Mandalay. Ian Dury used the same lyric in his #1 hit, "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick," though whether he was quoting Kipling or Mandy Miller is not known!


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