one for the money, two for the show

Discussion in 'English Only' started by drei_lengua, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Hello everyone,

    Would anyone be able to tell me what "one for the money, two for the show" means and where it came from?

    Thanks,
    drei
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and go man go.

    Song lyrics.

    They are in some modern perversion of the original, but I haven't found the original - yet:)
    ________________________________

    Gotcha.
    Blue Suede Shoes - HERE.

    ... go cat go .. in this version.
     
  3. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    These are the lyrics of the song.

    Edit: Panj my link has the lyrics by The Hootenanny Singers & The Highwaymen. Is that the original?
     
  4. ewhite

    ewhite Senior Member

    USA/English
    A much earlier use is in the intro to "Blue Suede Shoes". But it's an expression that was used, at least when I was a kid, to indicate the start of impromptu foot races.

    One for the money,
    Two for the show,
    Three to get ready
    And four to go.

    I suspect the expression has its roots in horse racing, where the third place finisher is the "show" horse.
     
  5. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Some support for ewhite's horse-racing connection appears here.
    Elizabeth
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Blue Suede Shoes was written and recorded by Carl Perkins in 1956 - sold 2 million.

    My wave of nostalgia has prevented me from looking for a more original original than this original.
     
  7. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    The Hootenanny Singers were singing in the sixties, Blue Suede Shoes was written in 1955, but the saying is older:
    Fall 1955. Johnny Cash joins Carl Perkins for a show in Amory, Mississippi. He suggests that Carl write a song based on a saying he had heard in the chow line while he was in the service, "Don't step on my blue suede shoes."
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Quite right, Hakro, my source didn't mention that Blue Suede Shoes was released on New Year's Day 1956 - so was, as you say, written in 1955.:thumbsup:

    Source
     
  9. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    After all, for me it's hard to believe that the expression "One for the money, two for the show" was created by Carl Perkins and first used in Blue Suede Shoes. It must have its origins somewhere else because different versions of it are used in so many different contexts.

    Back to the original question: Where does it come from? Does anybody know?
     
  10. ewhite

    ewhite Senior Member

    USA/English
    I'll stick with the horse racing theory. The context in which I first heard the term was kids running races in the street, so the leap is not far to horse racing.
     
  11. raymondo44 New Member

    London
    English
    The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951 ed.) shows the rhyme as first recorded in the 1880's (thus long before Carl Perkins et al) and supports the horse race starting theory.
     
  12. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Like Ms White (post #4), I recall this as a childhood counting-off rhyme.
     

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