"Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" is a popular song, written in 1892 by Harry Dacre, with the well-known chorus "Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I'm half crazy / all for the love of you", ending with the words "a bicycle built for two".
"Daisy Bell" was composed by Harry Dacre in 1892. As David Ewen writes in American Popular Songs: When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged import duty. His friend William Jerome, another songwriter, remarked lightly: "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty." Dacre was so taken with the phrase "bicycle built for two" that he soon used it in a song. That song, Daisy Bell, first became successful in a London music hall, in a performance by Katie Lawrence. Tony Pastor was the first to sing it in the United States. Its success in America began when Jennie Lindsay brought down the house with it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery early in 1892. The song was originally recorded and released by Dan W. Quinn in 1893, charting at number-one for nine consecutive weeks.
Milestones and Popular Culture
In 1961 an IBM 704 became the first computer to sing, in a demonstration of Bell Labs' newly invented speech synthesis – and the song was "Daisy Bell". Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lochbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. In a famous scene in the 1968 science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the intelligent HAL 9000 computer during its deactivation loses its mind and degenerates to singing "Daisy Bell", which was one of the first things HAL learned when it was originally programmed. The author of the story, Arthur C. Clarke, had seen the 1961 demo. In 1974 auditory researchers used the melody for the first demonstration of "pure dichotic" (two-ear only) or "pure cyclotean" (one "ear" in the mind that combines the two external ears) perception. They encoded the melody in a stereo signal that could be perceived in the brain only by noticing the phase differences between what each ear heard. In April 1975 at the Homebrew Computer Club's fourth meeting, in Menlo Park, California, Steve Dompier played "The Fool on the Hill" and "Daisy Bell" using an Altair 8800 and a radio.
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