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We Record, You Decide

As Yale Book of Quotations editor Fred Shapiro explains in his latest column, the origins of the Yale fight song “Boola Boola” are a bit murky. The song has long been credited to Allan M. Hirsh, Class of 1901, under whose name it was published in 1901, but it is plain that the song owes a substantial debt to an earlier song called “La Hoola Boola,” which was written by African American songwriters Robert Allen “Bob” Cole and Billy Johnson and published in 1897.

So that you can hear for yourself the songs’ similarities and differences, we recorded a verse and chorus of each song. The singer is Noah Horn ’10MusM, an organ performance student at the Institute of Sacred Music. The pianist is Chris White ’13PhD, a graduate student in music theory.

Listen to “La Hoola Boola”

Listen to “Boola Boola”






“You Can Quote Them”

“The Secret Source of That Silly Tune”


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