Scotlands Culture\|Scotlands Songs

Red Yo-Yo

Matt McGinn’s daughter came home from her Glasgow school one day to tell her parents that she had lost a button somewhere in school. She had gone to the janitor, who had gone to the headteacher, who had asked over the school loudspeakers if anyone had found the button.

Matt sat down and wrote this song, but we do not know if his daughter ever got her button back.



Did ye find a red yo-yo, red yo-yo, red yo-yo

Did ye find a red yo-yo, wi a wee yellow string?


Wee Ann took her yo-yo, tae school she did go, though

She shouldnae hae taen it at a'.

It fell frae her haun and it rolled on the grun

And it went through a hole in the wa


The daring young Annie, she went tae the Janny

A decent wee man as a rule

It's pleasing to tell that he rang on his bell

And he asked every wean in the school


The weans left their pencils and papers and stencils

Tae knock on the doors all aroon

And as they were rapping and ringing and chapping

They asked a' the folk o the toon


The polis soon learned and they were concerned

They left a' their murders aside

The whole of the force was alerted of course

And they went on the telly and cried


All over the country, the common and gentry

Were watching their big TV screens 

Things really got gaun some when President Johnson

Received an appeal frae the Queen


The wires were tremblin when he phoned the Kremlin

Tae ask aboot Annie's yo-yo

But Kosygin agreed with the greatest of speed

'Sio phonyo orchen strativichen'


In Peking and Paris and a' roon the Barras

The people they searched high and low

Till finally Annie announced that her Granny

Had bought her another yo-yo


Final chorus

And it was a green yo-yo, green yo-yo, green yo-yo

It was a green yo-yo, wi a wee yellow string


'Red Yo-Yo', performed by Tryst. Recorded for Learning and Teaching Scotland for Scotland’s Songs

When Tryst began to perform this song, they could not find a red yo-yo to dangle at the end of the last verse, but they did find a green yo-yo, that is why they changed one word at the end.

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Red Yo Yo (Tryst)




  • song notation Red Yo Yo (600).