The Clapping Song

"The Clapping Song" is an American song, written by Lincoln Chase, originally arranged by Charles Calello and recorded by Shirley Ellis in 1965.[citation needed]

The single sold over a million copies, and peaked at number eight in the United States[1] and number six in the UK.[2]


The song was released shortly after Ellis had released "The Name Game". "The Clapping Song" incorporates lyrics from the song "Little Rubber Dolly" (which does not contain the ‘three six nine’ part)[3][failed verification] a 1930s song recorded by the Light Crust Doughboys, and also features instructions for a clapping game.

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1965) Peak
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 6
US Billboard Hot 100 8
US Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles[4] 16

Notable cover versionsEdit

The song has been covered many times:

  • Gary Glitter covered this song on three albums: Glitter in 1972, Glam Years 1991, and Gary Glitter in 1995
  • Female Mexican pop singer Yuri recorded a Spanish version of the song in 1980 titled "Bailad (The Clapping Song)"
  • Ian Cussick, Scottish singer-songwriter, released the song as a single in 1981, from his third studio album Hypertension
  • The song returned to the charts when The Belle Stars covered the song in 1982, on their self-titled LP.[5] This version charted at number 11 in the UK,[2] but did not chart in the US.
  • Les Surfs, a french singing band from Madagascar, recorded the french version titled Clac tape, released in France in 1965
  • Pia Zadora's cover of the song entered the top 40 in 1983, when it peaked at number 36 on the Hot 100.[6]
  • Aaron Carter released a cover of the song on his 2000 album Aaron's Party (Come Get It).[7] A music video was produced for the song.
  • Lil' Kim performed the song (as Shirley Ellis) on the NBC drama American Dreams 12 October 2003 and danced to the song on the ABC show Dancing With The Stars 20 AND 21 April 2009
  • Mother and The Addicts released a cover of this song as the B-side to 2004 single "Who Art You Girls?"
  • The Young Punx covered the song for the Buffet Libre 'Rewind 2' project in late 2008, featuring Laura Kidd on vocals and Guthrie Govan on guitar
  • UK X Factor contestant, Cher Lloyd, performed the song on the final of the show in December 2010
  • Russell Grant released it in 2012 in the UK as a Christmas single along with six backing singers/dancers, including S Club 7's Tina Barrett, Chloe Rich, Miriam Breckner and Rhiannon Drake
  • The Hip-hop gospel Congolese group Makoma has covered the song
  • Izza Kizza samples the chorus in his song "Walk The Dawg"
  • R&B Singer Cupid did a cover of the song with B.o.B on the Step Up 2 OST which samples Ellis' version
  • Operator Please covered the song for the Australian Independent teen film Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger
  • Baccara recorded a cover with a "Macarena" beat.
  • Andrew W.K. included a re-mixed version in the album Damn! The Mixtape.
  • On Season 1 of The X Factor US, the group InTENsity performed the song during the first live show
  • The Hype Girlz released The Clapping Song on June 15, 2015
  • Icona Pop released a cover on 17 July 2015 titled "Clap Snap" on the "Emergency EP"
  • UK X Factor group 4th Impact performed the song as a mash-up with "Sound of the Underground" during the second week of live shows of Series 12, in 2015.
  • Queen drummer Roger Taylor covered the song on his 2021 album Outsider. He released it as a single on 16 September 2021.


  1. ^ "Shirley Ellis The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap) Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The Clapping Song Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Shirley Ellis's The Clapping Song". Retrieved 23 May 2012. ("Little Rubber Dolly" available at YouTube)
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 186.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Pia Zadora The Clapping Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 10 July 2022.

The Clapping Song Lyrics