Tuesday, February 03, 2004


This is the most I've been able to find about the song "Keemo-Kimo" and its origins. The chorus of the 1854 version comes closest to the version by the King Cole Trio. The trio put out an album of 78 rpm records for children in I'm not sure what year. Keemo-Kimo is the song that has stuck. Its version of the chorus goes something like "Keemo-Kimo, fair is fair; my heart, my ho, my rumpernickel pumpernickel; slam bang nick and palm-me-o my cameo; I love you!" It hasn't yet been found, but Nat Cole singing Latin hits of the 'fifties has. The arrangements are lush. The Mexican boleros are at times accompanied by a romance duo or trio (uncredited) similar to Los Panchos, although they must be another group, since Nat Cole was a Capitol artist in those days and the Panchos were Columbia. At any rate, this music goes well with the mood and season and so does music from Armstrong's Hot 5 and Hot 7.


At 6:53 PM, October 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this 78rpm when I was a kid in the early fifties.

I memorized the words:

Keemo Kimo stare-a-stare
ma hi, ma ho, marumpstickapaternickel
soopbangnipkat polymitchicameo
I love you
(repeat verse)

Once a great magician
taught me what to say
So now I know the magic words
to steal your heart away

Repeat Verse:

Keemo Kimo .....................

At 2:07 PM, March 26, 2009, Blogger Louis said...

I think I had this album back in 1948/49. I loved it! What a collectors item it would be now.

At 2:25 PM, March 26, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

It's truly astonishing how many people visit this entry, meaning that there's a great desire to hear this version again. If it has been reissued, I can't find it, and I'd buy anything that offered it, even if (as though that were possible) I disliked all the other King Cole Trio tracks.

At 2:28 PM, March 26, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

I remember the cover of the album, I think; the artists were represented with their instruments but as eggheads without distinguishing facial features and the figure representing Nat Cole wore a crown. Am I right?

At 5:09 PM, April 06, 2009, Anonymous dallasjj@bellsouth.net said...

I owned the album of Nat King Cole for Kids. The album cover had lollipops playing musical instruments if my memory hasn't failed me. I have been looking for a copy of this song for years. It was one of the first catchy word songs I ever committed to memory. The seems very accurate except for polymitchicameo which I remember being alimitchicameo. I also think the second to last line is: So now I'LL USE THESE magic words...

At 5:18 PM, April 06, 2009, Anonymous dallasjj@bellsouth.net said...

I found another blog with a different version, close to the one printed here by Anonymous. It read:
(pronounced kee-mo, kye-mo), and, from memory, goes like this:

[Spoken intro by Cole, something like, "Boys and girls, did you ever wish you had a magic potion to make dreams come true? Well, listen to this..."]

Ke-mo, ki-mo spare-o-spare
Ma-hi, ma-ho, ma-rump-sticka-pumpernickle
Soup-bang, nip-cat, polly-mitcha-cameo
I love you.
Ke-mo, ki-mo spare-o-spare
Ma-hi, ma-ho, ma-rump-sticka-pumpernickle
Soup-bang, nip-cat, polly-mitcha-cameo
I love you.

Once a great magician taught me what to say,
So now I'll use these magic words
To steal your heart away.

Ke-mo, ki-mo spare-o-spare
Ma-hi, ma-ho, ma-rump-sticka-pumpernickle
Soup-bang, nip-cat, polly-mitcha-cameo
I love you.

[Cole goes through this twice. The second time he speaks one of the "ke-mo, ki-mo"s, as if making sure we get it. At the end he says, "See what I mean?"]

At 5:18 PM, April 06, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

I recall them as sort-of stick figures, limber and bendy, with air-brushed egg-like heads without faces, but that's just one person's memory! I check eBay and other places periodically but have never found this album. I did recently find a picture of Hunky-Dory "That Ain't Hay" play money with the Great Seal on it, though, speaking of harking back to the days of yesteryear.

At 9:21 AM, April 13, 2009, Anonymous NC said...

I have this song!
Bought it through a compilation CD called "Jazz for kids... of all ages".
Thanks for the lyrics!

PS - Should you want the music, just say it...

At 3:52 PM, April 13, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

Thank you so much! I found the music and have ordered it. It's wonderful to see that the collection includes such favorites as Zat You Santa Claus and All That Meat and No Potatoes, among many other sought-after items.

At 2:36 PM, April 14, 2009, Anonymous NC said...

Yes! Really good stuff from some of the greatest.
Does anyone know what other tunes were there in 'Nat King Cole for Kids'?
Thanks in advance!

At 8:33 AM, April 15, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

That's the one that stuck. I'd really love to know.

At 8:44 PM, April 29, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so amazed...my dad sang this song to me when I was little, about 40 years ago. I saw Natalie Cole on t.v.tonight, and thought of my father and this song. And then googled it. Amazing! I thought this song was something that no one else would remember

At 11:20 PM, April 29, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

I did acquire the CD mentioned by a commenter and I'm very glad that I did. The volume is occasionally inconsistent across tracks and some of them sound as though they may be transcriptions from radio broadcasts. There's practically no track information (personnel, date recorded, etc.) and no telling what the licensing situation is, but it's a very rewarding 3-disk set. I think it's possible that the King Cole Trio "Three Blind Mice" version is also from the 78rpm album for children. Many thanks for the tip about the CD (which spells the title as "Kee-mo Ky-mo (The Magic Song)" . . .

At 11:56 PM, May 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Returned it to the public library a few weeks back but the kids keep singing many of the songs:

It's "Nicky’s Jazz for Kids"

You can listen to snatches at Amazon. Wonderful stuff.

1. Key-Mo Ky-Mo (The Magic Song) - The King Cole Trio
2. Everybody Eats When They Come to My House - Cab Calloway Listen
3. A Tisket, A Tasket - Ella Fitzgerald
4. Three Blind Mice - The King Cole Trio
5. The Music Goes 'Round and Around - Louis Prima
6. The Jungle King (You Ain't Done a Doggone Thing) - Cab Calloway
7. Ten Feet Off The Ground - Louis Armstrong
8. All That Meat And No Potatoes - Fats Waller
9. Jeepers Creepers - Count Basie & Tony Bennett
10. The Umbrella Man - Dizzy Gillespie
11. Chew-Chew-Chew (Chew Your Bubblegum) - Ella Fitzgerald
12. Your Feet's Too Big - Fats Waller
13. A Doodlin' Song - Peggy Lee

At 9:21 AM, May 08, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

What the last comment included was one CD of a 3-CD set called, as the person who alerted us reported, Jass for Kids of all ages. The spelling on this set is Kee-Mo Ky-Mo (The Magic Song). It's sold by Amazon as Golden Stas GSS 5432, Made in Portugal, 2005, [looks like] IMC Music Ltd., Licensed from Intermusic, S.A., info BCD@cddirect.nl, UPC 8 712177 049349 -- this is all white letters on pale yellow ground

At 4:00 PM, October 26, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A version of this song was performed on vocal and acoustic guitar by William Schallert, who played the role of Patty Lane's father on "The Patty Duke Show". The specific episode is titled "Do You Trust Your Daughter?", which originally aired March 2, 1966 - Season 3, Episode 25.

This is my first post: jimmie d

At 4:38 PM, November 02, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can be found on Amazon in an MP3 download:

The key search words are Ke mo ki. I've spent hours looking for this song and you can have it for $.87 on Amazon. My mother use to play this all the time and sing it when we were kids growing up in the late 40's and early 50's. Enjoy!

Album is: Nat "King" Cole ; 1947 VOL.2

At 7:46 AM, November 03, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

Thank you very much for posting this information! Those interested may hear several bars of this recording in an on-line sample. Also up there are other songs from that children's album by the King Cole Trio, which seems to have been new in 1947. It's astonishing that the reissue CD appears to be selling for over sixty dollars.

At 8:08 AM, November 09, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

I just found a site that shows the cover image from the album for children--egg-headed figures, just as I remembered:

At 8:09 AM, November 09, 2009, Blogger Rantor said...

search on "king cole for kids"

At 5:39 AM, March 19, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can listen to it right now at


At 8:31 PM, June 02, 2010, Blogger Wiitty said...

I actually have the 1948 version. It's part of a 3 record set that has the songs "There's a train out for Dreamland", "The three trees", "KE MO KI MO", "Old MacDonald had a farm", "My Sleepy Head", and "Nursery Rhymes". I haven't played it in years...guess I better, because I don't remember the lyrics quite the same as some of these postings indicate.

At 1:48 PM, October 28, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this blog today when I couldn't get the words out of my head and wanted to know what they were. Also found this site with the free sheet music and words, by Bob Hilliard and Roy Alfred:

At 7:01 PM, November 28, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sang that song in Music class!!

At 10:58 PM, December 19, 2011, Anonymous Bill Hughey said...

I sang that song in music class also. Don Davis was the music teacher, in Arkansas.

At 8:35 PM, April 08, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey. For anyone who's interested, In the early 1980s an artist named Webster Lewis did a funk/R&B version of this song entitled Kemo Kimo. I found it on a box set called Millenium Funk Party. From what I can hear he says
Kemo Kimo spare-n-spare, a-hi, a-ho, a rumpastickel sumpm in a soup bang nitpeck collamidge a perio.
Can you dig it?

At 8:51 PM, April 07, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The title is the same used in a minstrel song dating back to the 19th century, sung in the Civil War and still sung be re-enactors, notable South Carolina String Band. Both this older version and the Nat King Cole song of the same title are easily available on youtube.

At 8:04 PM, April 09, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter is doing tap dance to this song now these "non-sense" silly words kinda make sense :)

At 10:43 PM, October 08, 2017, Blogger Unknown said...

I Grew up listening to both Nat King Cole and June Christy singing
Ke-mo ki-mo stare a stair mi hi mi Ho MA romper stickle pumpernickel soup Bang nip cat Polly mooch a cameo I love you. The magic song. Check out June christy's 1960 album entitled cool school for a fun treat

At 8:24 AM, April 18, 2018, Blogger pndlphx said...

In the 50s I heard it as Kemo Kimo fair estair. Ma hi ma ho ma ruma stikle pumpernickel sally mr cameo . I love you.
As I grew up I wondered if it kemo kimo fred astaire😁


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