Hush Little Baby is a traditional lullaby that has its origins in folk music. No one is exactly sure where it came from, but it’s believed to originate in the southern USA in the early 20th century.
Over the years, a variety of versions of Hush Little Baby was sung, with different melodies and lyrics. The main theme of the song is a promise from ‘mama’ that the baby is going to be bought a variety of items if they remain quiet. If one fails to impress, then something else will be bought to satiate the baby.
In 1949, an influential Appalachian singer, Jean Ritchie, performed the version that had been handed down through her family. Due to her fame and exposure, Jean Ritchie’s version of the traditional ditty gained traction and it’s this melody and lyrics which are now sung today. It’s the perfect song to lull a little one to sleep.
Hush Little Baby Lyrics
Hush, little Baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a Mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat,
And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and a bull.
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and a cart.
And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.