Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me! on Throwback Thursdays

This classic song and updated video-version come from Editor Alina Celeste.

Alina Celeste

I don’t remember learning this song, I seem to have always known it. I’ve sung or hummed the melody once a day for most of my life, and I still love it. It’s a wonderful song to throw in during shows, because most people will know the melody and it lends itself so easily to improvisation. I’ve used it as a zipper song, as a movement song with instructions, and once, as a lullaby.

Shoo Fly Don’t Bother me was published in 1869  as “Shew! Fly, Don’t Bother Me: Comic Song and Dance or Walk Round”. It is most often attributed to T. Brigham Bishop.  He wrote it, the story goes, while stationed as an  officer in an all black regiment for the Civil War. While researching it, I was sad to learn that the original lyrics contain racist language. As a result, the version we all know today is actually just the chorus.  This blog post has a lot to say about the song, and a long list of references for further reading on it.



  1. Love the idea of other animal sounds. Fun Alina.

  2. Absolutely darling! And I learn so much every time I watch your videos! Gotta get me an opening as singular as yours! By “singular” I mean outstandingly yours and yours alone!

  3. OK Here’s my suggestion for the zipper song. What would a SHOE sound like singing this song????

  4. I remember that song from way back then. We love to dance & paly with it.

  5. Enchanting! I used this Friday morning to entertain twin 3 yr olds who were getting antsy at the Farmers Market. I bet they are still buzzing around as little flys at home. Brilliant adaptation.

  6. Fly sounds indeed! Thank you for making me smile from ear to ear.

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