My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean

Songfacts®:

  • Although its origins are unknown, this popular Scottish folk tune is said to be about Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, who led the Jacobite rising of 1745 in a failed attempt to reclaim the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales. After a final stand at the Battle of Culloden, Charles escaped Scotland aboard a small boat, inspiring another folk tune, "The Sky Boat Song." Because "Bonnie" could refer to a man or a woman, supporters of the rebellion could freely sing the tune under the guise of a romantic song about a lost love.
  • Composer Charles E. Pratt published the sheet music in 1881 under the pseudonyms H.J. Fulmer (or Fuller) and J.T. Wood.
  • A pre-fame (and pre-Ringo) Beatles recorded this as "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan in 1961 under the name the Beat Brothers. The rock 'n roll rendition went to #5 in West Germany.
  • In 1960, Duane Eddy hit #30 on the Hot 100 with a rock 'n roll instrumental version called "Bonnie Came Back."
  • This has also been covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Ventures, and Laura Wright.
  • Lou Costello sings this in the 1945 Abbott & Costello comedy The Naughty Nineties. It was also used in the 1932 Laurel & Hardy short "Scram!" and the 1944 Woody Woodpecker cartoon "The Beach Nut."
  • On the I Love Lucy episode "The Quiz Show," Lucy sings this on a game show and is doused with water every time she sings "ocean" and "sea."
  • In the 2013 comedy Bad Grandpa, 8-year-old Billy (Jackson Nicoll) sings this during a beauty pageant while dressed up like a girl.
  • This was used on The Simpsons in the 2004 episode "My Big Fat Geek Wedding."
  • Bonnie Prince Charlie's escape from Scotland after the uprising made him a romantic figure of heroic failure and there are many Scottish folk songs about the exiled prince, such as "Will Yae Ne'er Come Back Again." According to some music historians, the classic carol "O Come All Ye Faithful" contains secret political codes that reference the Stuart prince.

Comments: 1

  • G Mantel from Los AngelesThis makes no sense, whatsoever. The song is clearly about Ann Boney, the infamous Irish pirate in the Caribbean. "My Bonny lies over the ocean..."
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