“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” was written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockniss. Believe it or not, the song is a true story. Only it didn’t happen exactly like the song describes. Paul Vance was at the beach one day with his two-year old daughter and watched her playing in the sand. She was wearing a yellow polka dot bikini and when she was on the sand, she didn’t want to go into the water and when she was in the water, she didn’t want to get out. Vance had an idea for a song.
Vance took the song to Kapp Records, where he had a contract, but Kapp didn’t like rock and roll and thought the song would harm the image of the label. So, they created a label just for this song, Leader Records and brought in Brian Hyland to sing the song. Brian was still in high school when he recorded “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Once the record was done, they played for the label president who thought it was too risque. They explained that it was just a two-year old in the song and that it was all perfectly innocent. After the song was a hit, Kapp decided they didn’t mind so much being associated with it and if you look today, it says “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is on the Kapp Record label.
Just as a footnote, the lady at the each of each verse who counts “two, three four…tell the people what she wore” and so forth was Trudy Parker.
Brian Hyland was born in 1943 in Woodhaven, Queens, New York. He was very musical as a child, studying guitar and clarinet. He formed his own singing group when he was 14. Brian Hyland was about sixteen when he recorded “Bikini.” It was his only record for Kapp and his only number one song. He went on to have a pretty good career throughout the Sixties. He reached number three in 1962 with “Sealed With a Kiss’ and again in 1970 with “Gypsy Woman.”
Brian has stayed close to the music business all of his life, even though 1970 was the last time he hit the charts with a record. Today, he tours with his son, Bodi, who plays the drums.
“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” entered the pop chart on July 11, 1960 and spent one week at number one.