Yellow Bird


by Emile Ford and the Checkmates

Yellow Bird, up high in banana tree
Yellow Bird, you sit all alone like me
Did your lady friend leave the nest again
That is very bad, makes me feel so sad
You can fly away in the sky away
You more lucky than me.

I also had a pretty girl
She’s not with me today
They all the same the pretty girls
Take tenderness, then they fly away.

Yellow Bird, I’m all alone and blue
Yellow Bird, my lover was never true
How was I to know that my love would go
All the dreams we knew never will come true
We may find a way, there may come a day
We’ll find love that is true

Yellow Bird, up high in banana tree
Yellow Bird, you sit all alone like me
Did your lady friend leave the nest again
That is very bad, makes me feel so sad
You can fly away in the sky away
You more lucky than me.

“Yellow Bird” is based upon the melody of a Haitian song from the late 1880s called “Choucoune,” which was written by Oswald Durand. It was adapted by Norman Luboff and the English lyrics were written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The original song was about a woman, although there is a reference to “little birds” in the chorus of “Choucoune.”
“Yellow Bird” made its debut on the Norman Luboff Choir’s Calypso Holiday album in 1957. Many other groups and singers have covered it since then, including the Mills Brothers, Roger Whittaker, Lawrence Welk, Arthur Lyman, Johnny Tillotson and Chris Isaak and J. Robert. Emile Ford and the Checkmates’ version remains our favorite.
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