2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki
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2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki

Daisybell.jpg

"Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" is a novelty song written in 1892 by British songwriter Harry Dacre, with the well-known chorus: "Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I'm half crazy / all for the love of you", ending with the words "a bicycle built for two". The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII. It is the earliest song sung using computer speech synthesis, by the IBM 7094 in 1961.

Towards the end of the film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer is being drained of its intelligence when David Bowman is shutting down its power packs. The computer then begins its reboot speech:

HAL: Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.

Dave Bowman: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.

HAL: It’s called “Daisy”. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

The equivalent scene in the novel has some changes: HAL gives its activation date as 1997 rather than 1992, the instructor is named Dr. Chandra, and HAL goes silent after the words "love of you".

In popular culture[]

"Going Daisy," or words to that effect, has become cultural shorthand for a computer malfunction.

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