George Gershwin

The Babbitt and the Bromide

LYRIC

(Verse)
[JIMMY]
A babbitt met a bromide
On the avenue one day
And held a conversation
In their own peculiar way

[FRANKIE]
They both were solid citizens
They both had been around
And as they spoke, you clearly saw
Their feet were on the ground

(Chorus)
[JIMMY]
Hello!

[FRANKIE]
How are you?

[JIMMY]
How's the folks?

[FRANKIE]
What's new?

[JIMMY]
I'm great!

[FRANKIE]
That's good

[JIMMY]
Ha ha!

[FRANKIE]
Touch wood!

[JIMMY]
Well, well!

[FRANKIE]
What say?

[JIMMY]
How've you been?

[FRANKIE]
Nice day

[JIMMY]
How's things?

[FRANKIE]
What's new?

[JIMMY]
That's fine

[FRANKIE]
How are you?
Nice weather we are having
But it gives me such a pain
I've brought my umbrella
So of course it doesn't rain

[JIMMY]
Well, hi-ho!

[FRANKIE]
That's life

[JIMMY]
What's new?

[FRANKIE]
How's the wife?

[JIMMY]
Got to run

[FRANKIE]
Oh, my!

[JIMMY]
Ta-ta!

[FRANKIE]
Olive oil!

[JIMMY]
Goodbye

(Verse 2)
[JIMMY]
Ten years went quickly by
For both these substi-antial men
And then it happened that one day
They chanced to meet again

[FRANKIE]
That they had both developed
In ten years, there was no doubt
And so, of course, they had
An awful lot to talk about

(Chorus 2)
[JIMMY]
Hello!

[FRANKIE]
How are you?

[JIMMY]
How's the folks?

[FRANKIE]
What's new?

[JIMMY]
I'm great!

[FRANKIE]
That's good

[JIMMY]
Ha ha!

[FRANKIE]
Touch wood!

[JIMMY]
Well, well!

[FRANKIE]
What say?

[JIMMY]
How've you been?

[FRANKIE]
Nice day

[JIMMY]
How's things?

[FRANKIE]
What's new?

[JIMMY]
That's fine

[FRANKIE]
How are you?

[JIMMY]
I seem to know your face
But I just can't recall your name

[FRANKIE]
Well, how've you been, old boy?
You're looking just about the same

[JIMMY]
Well, hi-ho!

[FRANKIE]
That's life

[JIMMY]
What's new?

[FRANKIE]
How's the wife?

[JIMMY]
Got to run

[FRANKIE]
Oh, my!

[JIMMY]
Ta-ta!

[FRANKIE]
Olive oil!

[JIMMY]
Goodbye

(Verse 3)
[JIMMY]
Before they met again
Some twenty years they had to wait
This time it happened up above
Inside of Peter's Gate

[FRANKIE]
A harp they both were carrying
And both were wearing wings
And this is what they said
As they were strumming on the strings:

(Chorus 3)
[JIMMY]
Hello!

[FRANKIE]
How are you?

[JIMMY]
How's the folks?

[FRANKIE]
What's new?

[JIMMY]
Got to run

[FRANKIE]
Oh, my!

[JIMMY]
Ta-ta!

[FRANKIE]
Olive oil!

[JIMMY]
Goodbye

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About "The Babbitt and the Bromide"

This song was written for Fred and Adele Astaire and concludes the 1927 Broadway musical Funny Face. It makes fun of the banalities of small talk. Originally, the choruses were meant to be sung in unison, but the Gershwins did not object when the Astaires decided to alternate phrases.

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