Big Mouth Billy Bass is a singing fish made by Gemmy Industries in 1998-1999 and popular throughout 2000. He resembles a realistic-looking rubber Largemouth Bass mounted on an ordinary looking plastic plaque with a wood design. When activated by pushing the red button or passing by the motion sensor, Billy Bass will spring to life! He flaps his tail, turns his head outward to face you, and moves his mouth to the words of the song. Billy Bass sings "Take Me to the River" by Al Green and "Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.
Versions[edit | edit source]
- Big Mouth Billy Bass the Singing Sensation: The original singing fish released in 1998-1999 and popular in 2000. He sings "Take Me to the River" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" though earlier models only sing "Take Me to the River".
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Sings For the Holidays: A Christmas-themed version of Billy Bass. He wears a Santa hat and has a small jingle bell wrapped around his tail. 2 versions were made. The 1st version released in 1999 sings a Blues version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (a parody of "Trouble" by Elvis Presley). The 2nd version released in 2000 sings Country versions of "Jingle Bells" and "Up On a Housetop".
- World Record Billy Bass: A giant 28" lunker singing fish sold exclusively at KayBee Toys in 2000. This giant Billy Bass sings "Take Me to the River" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" just like the original. The fish comes with an extra nameplate that reads "WORLD RECORD BILLY BASS" that can be placed via peel off tape over the existing "BIG MOUTH BILLY BASS" nameplate.
- Big Mouth Billy Bones: A singing skeleton fish made for Halloween. Released in 2000, Billy Bones appears to be the deceased brother of Billy Bass. He sings "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood. His bones also glow in the dark.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Musical Keychain: A very small static version of Billy Bass that is attached to a clip. Made in 2000, this version lacks a plaque and doesn't have movement. You activate him by pressing a small button near his tail. He sings "Take Me to the River" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" just like the original.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Cupholder: A spinoff Billy Bass product made in 2000. The mouth is hollow so it can hold your drinking cup. It can be activated by squeezing the lower half of the head. It plays "Take Me to the River" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" just like the original.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Superstar: A special edition of Billy Bass released in 2001-2002. He now stands by his tail on a black round base and holds a microphone. He taps his tail, sways his body, and sings into the microphone. This version of Billy Bass sings "Act Naturally" by The Beatles and a parody of "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. There is an early generation model that plays a longer version of "Act Naturally" and "Stayin' Alive" by The Beegees. This model has an anal fin which is not present on the usual Billy Bass Superstar. This version may possibly be an earlier model, probably from around 2001. A 3rd model exists that sings "I Will Survive" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" (same recording as the original Billy Bass). It is highly possible that this model was not sold in America, and was sold in other countries since all videos of it on YouTube are either in French, German, or Italian.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Jr.: A smaller version of Billy Bass on an oval plaque released in 2004. This version was made to mark his 5th Anniversary, and was sold until 2006. This version sings a parody of "I Will Survive" and "Take Me to the River" (same recording as the original). Some models sing "Take Me to the River" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" just like the original. These models were sold mostly in the UK, Germany, and Australia.
- Mini Big Mouth Billy Bass REC+PLAY: A miniature version of Billy Bass only sold at CVS and Cabela's in 2009. This much smaller Billy Bass was made to mark his 10th Anniversary. This version can record a message (up to 9 seconds) and play it back, followed by him singing "Take Me to the River" (the recording it plays more closely resembles the version of the song by Talking Heads rather than the version by Al Green). This version is very fragile and known to break easily.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary Edition: Made in 2014 and sold through 2015, this special version of Billy Bass was made to mark his 15th Anniversary. He's mounted on an oval-shaped plaque and has a shiny nameplate with his name and logo. Billy Bass now sings a different version of "Don't Worry Be Happy" and a parody of "I Will Survive". He was first sold at CVS in December of 2014, and later sold throughout 2015 at retailers such as Walmart, Spencer's Gifts, and BJ's Wholesale Club. Some models only played "I Will Survive" and had different movement patterns. This model was mostly sold outside the USA. The 2014 models were recalled shortly after release due to the rubber skin being very thin. This caused the mouth area to tear after several uses. Gemmy released a much better quality model with thicker rubber in early 2015.
- Big Mouth Billy Bones 15th Anniversary Edition: During the 2015 Halloween season, Gemmy released a new version of Billy Bones for his 15th Anniversary. This new version sings a slightly different recording of "Bad to the Bone" and has red LED's in his eyes and mouth. This special Billy Bones was only sold at Walmart (though Sunstar released him to the UK in the 2016 Halloween season under the name Rockin' Rotten Fish). This Billy Bones is mounted on a black oval-shaped plaque and lacks a nameplate.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary Christmas Edition: Following the 15 year trend, Gemmy released a Christmas version of the 15th Anniversary Billy Bass for the 2015 Holiday season. This version of Billy Bass sings a parody of "Jingle Bells" and a parody of "I Will Survive". This version lacks the jingle bell on the tail, and was only sold at 2 places: Meijer's and Lowe's Canada. Gemmy also produced an Airblown Inflatable Christmas Billy Bass for the 2015 Holiday season that moves it's head inward and outward. It also has a soundbox that plays a parody of "I Will Survive". This inflatable version was exclusively sold at Lowe's. A small ornament version was made as well (meant to be used as a Christmas tree ornament). This version is similar to the Musical Keychain from 2000 as it has no movements and is just static (it does have a plaque however). This one plays a parody of "Jingle Bells" and a shorter version of his "I Will Survive" parody. It was sold at Meijer's and The Home Depot for the 2015 Holiday season. It was also ironically sold at Menard's for the 2016 season, though the box still said "15 Years and Still Singing". The ornament was once again re-released for the 2019 season and sold at Meijer's. The box for this one stated that it's a 20th Anniversary release, however it still sings the same songs. There is a factory error on the back of the fish (a misspelling of Gemmy(Geemy)) that was fixed in the 2019 release. The ornament is the only Billy Bass item with a confirmed 20th Anniversary release.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass Survivor Edition: A 2018 remake of Billy Bass that was sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel. This version sings a parody of "I Will Survive" and has improved movements. This version was sold from May through August of 2018. There also is a version of the Survivor that sings "I Will Survive" and "Don’t Worry Be Happy". This version was also sold at Cracker Barrel during the same months and year as the regular one.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass the Speaking Sensation: A special version of Billy Bass that is compatible with Alexa via Bluetooth to an Amazon Echo device. This version was sold exclusively on Amazon.com for the 2018 Holiday season till early 2019. This version included a power adaptor (the first singing fish made since Billy Bass Superstar to include a secondary power source) and an exclusive song called "Fishin' Time". He moves his mouth in sync with Alexa's voice and turns his head outward when saying the wake word. He also dances to music by moving his head and tail to the beat. This version was possibly made for his 20th Anniversary, though it is not stated.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Billy Bass is the most common and popular singing fish ever made.
- Billy Bass is also Gemmy's most popular item.
- There is a rare 2000s version which is slightly darker, has smaller spots and thicker stripes, and the pectoral and ventral fins lose the beige patches.
- Sometimes, Billy Bass sings very slowly and his voice is pitched down to -14.5 semitones. Finding a Billy Bass with this feature is incredibly rare.
- A Billy Bass Christmas stocking is rumored to exist.