This song was introduced by The foursome in Girl Crazy at the Alvin Theatre in New York City on October 14, 1930.
Ira Gershwin took the title from the last line (“I'm going to bide my time”) of a poem he had written in 1916 in New York City's College's monthly Cap and Bells. It occurred to him, while writing Girl Crazy, that the “Bide my time” phrase would work well in parodying the western-style ballad. Toward that end, the Foursome, portraying a group of sleepy-eyed cowboys, accompanied themselves on tin flute, jew's harp, ocarina and harmonica.
Ira had some additional fun in the verse, referring in rhyme to several popular songs of the day: “Tiptoe Through the Tulips With Me” (1929), “Singin' in the Rain” (1929), “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine (1929—actually, Ira calls this “Painting Clouds With Sunshine”), and “Swingin' Down the Lane” (1923). For a reprise, he added other titles: “Tell it to the Daisies,” "Stroll Beneath the Honeysuckle Vines,” “Climbed the Highest Mountain,” and “A Crying For the Carolines.”
The cheerful and contented verse (“Some fellows love to 'Tip-toe Through the Tulips'”) quotes, in its sixth and seventh bars, not just the title but the melody of “Singin' in the Rain.” It was Ira's suggestion that the refrain (“I'm Bidin' My Time”) not repeat after the first eight bars, and the resulting twenty-four-bar ABA format gives it a more folklike, less Broadwayish quality. On the syllable “diz” in the phrase “While other folks grow dizzy,” the melody suddenly moves up a half step and out of the the key. This is an effective hook and a foretaste of the release (“Next Year”), which will be in that other key. The release is notable for the way it gently interrupts the studied lethargy of the refrain with some subdued, Charleston-style syncopation.
The Foursome recorded this in 1930, as did the Blue Jeans (the only recording they ever made). Succeeding versions were in 1932 by Edgar Jackson's Gargoyle Five, in 1938 by Elizabeth Welch and Robert Ashley, in 1946 by Phil Moore, and in 1959 by Ella Fitzgerald. In the 1943 film version of Girl Crazy “Bidin' My Time” is sung by Judy Garland. In the 1965 version (entitled Where the Boys Meet the Girls) it is sung by Herman's Hermits.