This was originally an English music hall song, written in 1911 by Fred Murray and RP Weston, and was Harry Champion's signature song - the Cockney pronunciation is likely from that source.

It was recorded in 1965 in the UK by Peter Noone's group Herman's Hermits on their eponymous album, although the opening backstory is omitted, and the chorus simply repeated.

The song has spawned a number of parodies, including Kennedy The Blank and Element the Eighth, an ode to oxygen.