The First Recording Ever Was of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison made the first recording of the human voice in 1877. He recited the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb. He re-recorded it in 1927 for posterity.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

Listen to Thomas Edison reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb, MP3

UPDATE: It was discovered in 2008 that Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was actually the first man to make a recording of a human voice back in 1860. It was a recording of a person singing part of the French song “Au Clair de la Lune“. You can hear the clip here and here.

This article was posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2006 at 11:55 am and is filed under American Nursery Rhymes, Countries & Cultures, English, English Nursery Rhymes, Languages, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Mary Had a Little Lamb mp3, MP3 Recordings, Nursery Rhymes, People, Podcasts, Recordings of Nursery Rhymes, Thomas Edison, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

26 Responses to “The First Recording Ever Was of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Thomas Edison”

  1. Telio Says:


  2. Jane Says:

    I was looking for a nice melody of a beautiful song for kids – and what I fount!?? A strange man voise… My kids will be scared! Why did they record him at all? I really dont understand

  3. Lisa Says:

    The point is that Thomas Edison is the first person to record his voice any time, any where, ever! He invented the device to record. The first thing he recorded was Mary Had a Little Lamb.

    It’s a recording for posterity – for older kids to appreciate that this guy invented this incredible device all the way back in 1877 and we can hear voices from back in time now – because of what he invented then.

    I think that’s miraculous!

    -Mama Lisa

  4. Kurt Murphy Says:

    Agreed Mama Lisa…

    Jane, what do you mean ‘Why did they record him at all?’ -You`re looking for a nice melody for your children, this man is the reason nice melodies are able to be recorded… He may have had a “strange man voice”, but it’s him we have to thank for every type of recordable music that exists today!!


  5. Jack Ghofft Says:

    Thomas Edison was not actually the first man to record, technically. during the stone age, dogs were domesticated and taught to repeat the words of their owner. To some, this is not a real recording, but hey.. What the h**l

  6. Josh Says:

    If Thomas Edison could only see and experience the results of that one little recording…

    What song do you think he would have chosen to sing today? “Baby Got Back”? Lol, j/k

    – Josh

  7. Fidge Says:

    Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was actually the first man to make a recording of voice before Edison on April 9th 1860.

  8. Lisa Says:

    This was just discovered! It’s a clip of a woman singing the French song “Au Clair de la Lune“.

  9. Tom Says:


  10. Lisa Says:

    You’re right that it wasn’t just discovered. They’ve known about it, but they weren’t able to play the recording. They just figured out how to play it.

    You can now hear the first ever recording! Though you have to listen very carefully.

    That makes Thomas Edison the first person to record his voice and play it back and listen to it. He wasn’t the first person to record a voice.

  11. Jean Says:

    Check out my twin brother’s web site and his log about the French recording.

    Click on his link to the strange world of digitized music. Listening to a super-compressed file of “Layla” which has been slowed down enough to understand it sounds eerily like this new “very first recording.”

  12. Mary Had a Little Lamb | Free Sheet Music, Lyrics, Chords and Video « the songs we sing Says:

    […] can hear this historic recording of Mary Had a Little Lamb from […]

  13. Carter Says:

    it is amazing what he did to make that. he simply spoke into the phonograph, and a needle moved according to his sound waves. that put the needle back, and it playing it again. amazing….

  14. cassandra Says:

    that was good

  15. belle Says:


  16. Elois Says:

    Hi everyone.

    Why did he sing mary had a little lamb? This was just plain FREAKY.

  17. Bill Says:

    I’m pretty sure he used “Mary had a Little Lamb” because it was a commonly known poem, simple and short. I don’t think the term, “Testing… 1…2…3”, was popular at the time.

  18. bob Says:

    Lol the Au Claire de la Lune song is really weird… Was it a man or a women singing?

  19. a modern composer Says:

    I accidentally found this recording while looking for something that still does not exist in the world of modern musical technology today… but – to say the very least, I was elated and truly impressed to hear the clarity and quality this genius (word actually applies) created from a mere sequence of collective thought in his mind.
    Ponder this all you intellectual giants… he did not borrow/sample nor reapply for-given creative knowledge- he brought this forth from his own mental reflections and made it a reality.
    We would not know Billie Holiday/ Freddie Mecury/ or Mario Lanza… need I go on?

  20. Robert Power Says:

    A spoken letter by Emile Berliner, founder of Deutsche Grammophon, was recorded in 1897. I guess that makes it the oldest record ever…

  21. bud Says:

    Um Robert Power, 1877 is 20 years before 1897. Edison invented the grammophone.

  22. Rebecca Says:

    I am looking for the full recording of Thomas Edison reading, do you have access to it or is your snipet the entire recording?

  23. Bob Says:

    Could any of us imagine life without recorded music? Thomas Edison was one of the smartest people we were lucky to have born here in the great U.S.A..
    Rebecca, this was the whole recording. Edison re-recorded it for posterity. Imagine, this man just dreamed up this machine, handed the drawing to one of his machinists, and “POOF” we have audio recording. He recorded it on a piece of rolled up tin foil. As another point of, what would we do without it, Edison also invented moving pictures. We would be in the stone age. Oh yeah, he also invented a little thing called the light bulb, talk about being in the dark. VIVA Tomas Edison, a great example of the opportunity afforded us in a FREE SOCIETY.

  24. Kieron Says:

    FALSE.. Edison did not make the first voice/sound recording.. The first ever sound recording was made by Edouard-Leon Scott in 1860. The recording was of a woman singing Au Clair De La Lune.. This is not a hate message. I am aware this site was made years ago. I am just bringing the site up to date.

  25. Lisa Says:

    You’re right – this was pointed out in the comments a while back. We have a link to the recording above… I just added the new info to the original post. Thanks for writing!

  26. Today In Music History - August 12th | Cherry Sound Records Says:

    […] – Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and made the first sound recording. “Mary Had A Little Lamb” 1960 – The Silver Beetles recruited drummer Pete Best. 1966 – John Lennon apologized in […]

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