Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Noël Coward, The Orchestra

About Mad Dogs and Englishmen

"Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is a song written by Noël Coward and first performed in The Third Little Show at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on 1 June 1931, by Beatrice Lillie. The following year it was used in the revue Words and Music and also released in a "studio version". It then became a signature feature in Coward's cabaret act. The song's title refers to its refrain, "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." According to Sheridan Morley, Coward wrote the song while driving from Hanoi to Saigon "without pen, paper, or piano". Coward himself elucidated: "I wrestled in my mind with the complicated rhythms and rhymes of the song until finally it was complete, without even the aid of pencil and paper. I sang it triumphantly and unaccompanied to my travelling companion on the verandah of a small jungle guest house. Not only Jeffrey [Amherst], but the gecko lizards and the tree frogs gave every vocal indication of enthusiasm". 


Year:
1991
101 Views

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In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire
To tear their clothes off and perspire
It's one of those rules that the greatest fools obey
Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultra violet ray
 
Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo
Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo
Digariga digariga digariga doo
Digariga digariga digariga doo
 
The native grieve when the white 
Men leave their huts, because
They're obviously definitely nuts!
 
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
The Japanese don't care to
The Chinese wouldn't dare to
Hindoos and Argentines sleep 
Firmly from twelve to one
But Englishmen detest a siesta
In the Philippines
There are lovely screens

To protect you from the glare
In the Malay States
There are hats like plates
Which the Britishers won't wear
At twelve noon the natives swoon
And no further work is done
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
 
It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see
That though the English are effete
They're quite impervious to heat
When the white man rides every native hides in glee
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee on a tree
 
Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa
Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa
 
It seems such a shame
When the English claim
The earth that they give rise to 
Such hilarity and mirth

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it
In Rangoon the heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun
They put their Scotch or Rye down
And lie down in a jungle town

Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased
In Bangkok
At twelve o'clock
They foam at the mouth and run
Slut mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun
 
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit
Deplores this stupid habit in Hongkong
They strike a gong and
Fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate
Who's in late

In the mangrove swamps
Where the python romps
There is peace from twelve till two
Even caribous
Lie around and snooze
For there's nothing else 
To do in Bengal to move 
At all is seldom, if ever done
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun

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Noël Coward

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise". more »

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Written by: NOEL COWARD

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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