“The Name Game” – Performed by Shirley Ellis (1965)

Shirley Ellis – The Name Game (1965)

“The Name Game,” or “The Banana Song”, is a children’s singalong rhyming game that creates variations on a person’s name. It was written by singer Shirley Ellis with Lincoln Chase, and Ellis’ recording, produced by Charles Calello, was released in late 1964 as “The Name Game.” That record went to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 4 on the magazine’s R&B charts in 1965. The record was re-released in 1966 and again in 1973. While Ellis’ stock in trade was novelty hits, she was no one-hit wonder. A serious R&B singer for 10 years before that hit, Ellis also charted with “The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)” (#8 pop and #16 R&B), and “The Nitty Gritty” (#8 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box R&B chart). Ellis performed “The Name Game” on major television programs of the day, including Hullabaloo, American Bandstand, and Merv Griffin. (SOURCE: WIKI)

A great Biography of Miss Ellis can be found at Spectropop Presents Shirley Ellis.

And now you can watch Ellis perform the song and sing along with the words provided below! Enjoy

The Name Game By Shirley Ellis and Lincoln Chase

Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley
Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!

Lincoln, Lincoln bo Bincoln Bonana fanna fo Fincoln
Fee fy mo Mincoln, Lincoln!

Come on everybody!
I say now let’s play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody’s name
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn’t there
But a B or an F or an M will appear
And then I say bo add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a
And then I say the name again with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo
And then I say the name again with an M this time
and there isn’t any name that I can’t rhyme

Arnold, Arnold bo Barnold Bonana fanna fo Farnold
Fee fy mo Marnold Arnold!

But if the first two letters are ever the same,
I drop them both and say the name like
Bob, Bob drop the B’s Bo ob
For Fred, Fred drop the F’s Fo red
For Mary, Mary drop the M’s Mo ary
That’s the only rule that is contrary.

Okay? Now say Bo: Bo
Now Tony with a B: Bony
Then Bonana fanna fo: bonana fanna fo
Then you say the name again with an F very plain: Fony
Then a fee fy and a mo: fee fy mo
Then you say the name again with an M this time: Mony
And there isn’t any name that you can’t rhyme

Every body do Tony!
Pretty good, let’s do Billy!
Very good, let’s do Marsha!
A little trick with Nick!
The name game

Since that was so much fun,  lets do oldies!
Oldies, oldies, Bo boldies Banana Fana Fo foldies
Fe Fi Mo moldies
Let’s keep them alive!


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Shirley was a wonderful singer and great to work with. We had two hit records together and enjoyed each experience. Recently I reach out to find her and discovered she had died. It’s comendable that you’ve taken the time to keep her memory alive.


  2. What a pleasure to meet you Charles. Welcome to OSML.

    It is my honor to try to keep the memory of some of our great popular artists alive. I love this music and hope that another generation will discover just how wonderful it is and fall in love with it too.

    Judging from the fun songs she wrote I was guessing that she had a wonderful sense of humor. Hearing of your great experience working with her now confirms this for me.

    I have read that Miss Ellis was of Carribean ancestry but no specific country is ever given. Did she ever mention to you Charles where her parents were from? (Having a Jamaican ancestry I was just curious LOL)

    I am so glad you checked in and would love to hear any anecdotes you might be willing to share of you involvement in the music industry.

    Hope to hear from you again soon.

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