One of the reasons I’ll never have a hit record with Non, Je ne regrette rien is because unfortunately, I do have one big regret. Coming home in the car from Potton Hall after the recording session for Studio Series 5, the one with all the singalong tunes on, I realised we’d completely forgotten to record Oh I do Like to be Beside the Seaside. It’s a beautifully silly song, but it’s not just that it makes people smile during class, it also happens to have a very useful rhythmic template. It works for those grands battements exercises that have a huge anacrusis and slow rumpty-tum rhythm that sounds turgid in music, but is fine for legs. You can slow down Oh I do like to be beside the seaside and it doesn’t sound too turgid, because the words are light.
When I was researching the album, I was amazed – considering how popular and well known the song is – that I didn’t seem to be able to find the sheet music online. In the end, I had to get a colleague to bring me in his physical copy of the music. I still can’t find a scan of the sheet music anywhere, which makes me wonder whether there’s some odd copyright issue lurking there. But in the meantime, thanks to Tony Wilkinson for uploading a new typeset version of the song to the Free sheet music archive. He’s done the world a service.
Links to the sheet music for “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside”
- Oh I do like to be beside the seaside – free sheet music download
- Oh I do like to be beside the seaside – recording of a piano roll from 1907
- The Seaside in the Victorian Literary Imagination from Victorian Web
- A history of how the English learned to love the seaside from The Word Wenches
- Original recording of Mark Sheridan (the one who made it a hit) singing the song in 1909