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Song lyrics to Yes! We Have No Bananas (1923) by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn

Yes! We Have No Bananas [song lyrics]

Song lyrics to Yes! We Have No Bananas (1923) by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn

There’s a fruit store on our street
It’s run by a Greek.
And he keeps good things to eat
But you should hear him speak!
When you ask him anything, he never answers “no”.
He just “yes”es you to death, and as he takes your dough
He tells you
“Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today.
We’ve string beans, and onions
Cabbageses, and scallions,
And all sorts of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned to-mah-to
A Long Island po-tah-to
But yes, we have no bananas.
We have no bananas today.”

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Business got so good for him that he wrote home today,
“Send me Pete and Nick and Jim; I need help right away.”
When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet.
Someone asked for “sparrow grass” and then the whole quartet
All answered
“Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today.
Just try those coconuts
Those walnuts and doughnuts
There ain’t many nuts like they.
We’ll sell you two kinds of red herring,
Dark brown, and ball-bearing.
But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today.”

Yes, we are very sorry to inform you
That we are entirely out of the fruit in question
The afore-mentioned vegetable
Bearing the cognomen “Banana”.
We might induce you to accept a substitute less desirable,
But that is not the policy at this internationally famous green grocery.
I should say not. No no no no no no no.
But may we suggest that you sample our five o’clock tea
Which we feel certain will tempt your pallet?
However we regret that after a diligent search
Of the premises
By our entire staff
We can positively affirm without fear of contradiction
That our raspberries are delicious; really delicious
Very delicious
But we have no bananas today.

Yes, we gotta no banana
No banana
We gotta no banana today.
I sella you no banana.
Hey, Marianna, you gotta no banana?
Why this man, he no believe-a what I say.
Now whatta you want mister?
You wanna buy twelve for a quarter?
No? well, just a oneofadozen?
I’m-a gonna calla my daughter.
Hey, Marianna
You gotta piana
Yes, banana, no
No, yes, no bananas today
We gotta no bananas.
Yes, we gotta no bananas today.

Recordings:

Unsurprisingly, this silly, fun novelty song has been recorded by a multitude of artists over the years, including:

  • It became a major hit in 1923 when it was recorded by Billy Jones, Billy Murray, Arthur Hall, Irving Kaufman, and others.
  • Benny Goodman and his Orchestra
  • Spike Jones & His City Slickers
  • Kidsongs

Movie references:

  • In Only Angels Have Wings, when Cary Grant asks Thomas Mitchell why a boat is not stopping at a particular port, Mitchell says, “They have no bananas,” to which Cary Grant responds, “They have no bananas?!” and Mitchell answers, “Yes, they have no bananas.”
  • Luxury Liner, performed by the Pied Pipers.
  • Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, the two go out boating and play the song on an old fashioned crank phonograph, as Sabrina sings along.
  • An instrumental version is featured throughout All These Women.
  • The song was used as a leitmotif in The Comic (1969), often to underscore serious moments in the life of the film’s protagonist.
  • The English Patient.
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It, comic homage is paid to the song when Harvey Korman responds to a question from Mel Brooks saying, “Yes, we have Nosferatu! We have Nosferatu today!”
  • A River Runs Through It.
  • Inspiration for the title of the Three Stooges short film, Yes, We Have No Bonanza

TV

  • The song was often used by singer and comedian Jimmy Durante on The Jimmy Durante Show.
  • The song was parodied more than once on The Muppet Show, sung by various fruits and vegetables and at one point The Swedish Chef.
  • In The Simpsons episode “Bart’s Girlfriend”.
  • In The Brady Bunch episode “Never Too Young”.
  • In the 1994 Iron Man cartoon, Hawkeye refers to the song while making fun of alien character Century, who apparently comes from a planet where everything said in a song is true.
  • On the Season 3 episode of Green Acres, “My Mother the Countess”, Oliver insults his Hungarian-born wife Lisa by joking that the song is Hungary’s national anthem.

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