January 2004
Cylinder of the Month

See also the  Cylinders of the Month Archive.

From 1907, vaudeville star Helen Trix sings the hit comic song, The Bird on Nellie's Hat.

The Bird on Nellie's Hat
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 9450
Category Comic song
Title The Bird on Nellie's Hat
Performed by Helen Trix
Circa January 1907
Announcement "The Bird on Nellie's Hat, sung by Helen Trix.  Edison record."
Helen Trix (Courtesy, Historical Society of Berks County)

Helen Trix was a versatile vaudeville actress whose singing was very much in the style of the "queen" of comic songs, Ada Jones, but Trix recorded only 6 two-minute wax recordings (for Edison).   This month's selection was her most popular record and a big seller for Edison.

The Historical Society of Berks County [Pennsylvania] remarks:

Helen Trix (1886-1951), a contralto, was very famous in her day and started making discs and cylinders for Victor and Edison in 1906.   [Trix's sister] Josephine (1898-1992), a soprano, later teamed with Helen--but often sang on her own.   Both were major vaudeville stars in America, England, and Paris (where they ran a casino).   Helen wrote much popular music, most of which was widely published.   They recorded extensively in England in the late 1920ís for both the Columbia and HMV companies.

— Courtesy, Historical Society of Berks County.

To hear The Bird on Nellie's Hat  —

For help playing these sounds, click here.

    No. 9450, "The Bird on Nellie's Hat," by Helen Trix, is a new comic song by Alfred Solman (music) and Arthur J. Lamb (words).   The little bird on Nellie's hat sees and comments on the love making of Nellie's various beaux.   Miss Trix sings with orchestra accompaniment and in her usual clear and distinct voice.   The chorus:
    I'll be your little honey, I will promise that,
    Said Nellie as she rolled her dreamy eyes,
    It's a shame to take the money,
    Said the bird on Nellie's hat,
    Last night she said the same to Johnny Wise,
    Then to Nellie Willie whispered as they fondly kissed,
    I'll bet that you were never kissed like that.
    Well he don't know Nellie like I do,
    Said the saucy little bird on Nellie's hat.
— November 1906 Edison Phonograph Monthly [announcing the January records]

— This cylinder of the month is from the collection of  Art Guenther —


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