Instrumental. A spoken word version by Emile Berliner was released in 1889 on 5 inch Berliner Grammophon disc, not on shellac but on gutta-percha for German toy makers Kümmel & Reinhardt. Nursery rhyme with English roots. Cole (pronounced 'Coil') may have been based upon Coelius or Coel Hen, at the end of Roman occupation in Britain the last Duke of the Britains installed by Rome and based in York. In 1927 translated in Yiddisch by Moshe Nadir as Der Rebe Elimeylikh, giving its title to a popular Yiddisch folksong since.
Edgar Hayes [vocal version]
Simon Woolf [boy soprano]
Arrows [Belgian rock]
Roy & Val Bailey [with Leon Rosselson]
Genesis [lyrics in The Musical Box on the Nursery Cryme album]
Queen [lyrical quotation in Great King Rat]
Inspired Nat 'King' Cole's (real name: Coles) stage name. Then there's a Gulf Coast pirate named King Cole (his real name was James Cole Denham), active at the mouth of the Mississippi in the 1870's.