The cockney rhyme is attributed to not anyone British but an American stripper and burlesque dancer by the name of Gypsy Rose Lee, born in Seattle in 1911. Her career took off, just like her clothes, in the late-1920s and she was once hailed as the world’s most famous strip artist, a claim that led to a musical of her life, Gypsy, in 1959 with the leading character played by Natalie Wood. You may not be too familiar with the musical but two songs were born from it that you may know, namely Let Me Entertain You and Everything’s Coming Up Roses. It’s believed American soldiers adopted the slang during The Second World War, when they finally decided to take part, and the cockney troops in the trenches kind of inherited it from them knowing nothing of its derivation.
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