Who was Bill Bailey and did he ever come home?
Supposedly, the song is based on a "real" Bill Bailey who was a black vaudeville performer, a member of the team of Bailey and Cowan. One night he was locked out after his wife had had enough of his late-night revelry. Hughie Cannon, who wrote the song, was one of Bailey's friends who joined him in these nocturnal pleasures. He paid for a hotel room for Bailey and assured him that a night away would cause his wife to beg him to return.
Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey was written by American song writer Hughie Cannon who died in 1912. Other songs by Cannon are "I hates to get up in the morning" and "Just because she made dem goo goo eyes".