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|Written by||Terence Alan Milligan|
The song was written by Spike Milligan for The Goon Show, a 1950s British radio comedy starring Milligan, Peter Sellers, and Harry Secombe. "Ying tong iddle i po" was a recurring phrase on The Goon Show, which specialized in silly catchphrases like "needle nardle noo," "he's fallen in the wa-ater," and "you can't get the wood, you know."
The song was recorded in 1956 as the B-side to a Goon Show single, "Bloodnok's Rock'n'Roll Call (featuring Major Dennis Bloodnok, 43rd Deserters (Rtd.), with Roland Rockcake and his Wholly Rollers)." The B-side was labeled "The Ying Tong Song (with Maurice Ponke and his Orchestre Fromage)." The recorded song features some of the Goon Show's main characters—Neddie Seagoon, Major Dennis Bloodnok, Bluebottle, Jim Spriggs, and The Famous Eccles. That same year, the song was used as the opening theme for A Show Called Fred, a television series which translated the surreal Goon-style humor onto video. Here, the theme was sung only by Milligan and Sellers.
In 1973, "The Ying Tong Song" was re-released as a single with "I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas," following the Goons' reunion special, The Last Goon Show of All. The single was on Britain's Top Twenty charts for five weeks, peaking at #9.