Old Dun Cow Caught Fire, The

The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire is a music hall song written by Harry Wincott in 1893 (oft described as the "King of Comic Song") who wrote many famous tunes but was paid so little for his work that he died a poor man in 1947 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Yeovil.


The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (WORD)
The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (PDF)

Thanks to Kat Summerbell and Hedra Pink for sending this song suggestion! YOU CAN PLAY ALONG WITH THE 1ST VIDEO IN GCEA TUNING!  I've based the song sheet mainly on the Stanley Kennedy version, but added an additional verse at the end. As well I've combined aspects of both the 2nd and 3rd videos, as well as others, to emphasize the comedic pub sing-a-long aspects of the song. You find lots of variations between versions.

Harry Wincott's most prolific period was between 1890 and 1920, and included many other famous tunes such as "All on the fidgety fudge", "Mademoiselle from Armentieres", "Any Old Iron", "How's Your Father?" and "Boiled Beef and Carrots". Even though "When The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire" was tremendously popular since its introduction and sold more than 250,000 copies during his life, Harry (born Alfred James Walden in 1867) was only paid one guinea for this hit song. After a Yeovil Newpaper article about him in 2004, he has recently received renewed attention and admiration, and his gravesite has been honored with a new memorial marker. Also of interest in this song is the substitution of the word "McIntyre" that the audience yells instead of "fire", since it was illegal to yell "fire" in public in the London of the 1890s. One of the artists that he regularly wrote for was Harry Champion, born William Henry Crump, of whom he was a great friend. Harry Champion recorded the song in 1911.

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