Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Songs of My Youth


As I approach my 61st birthday, I remember the music and rhymes of my childhood. Not the music we learned in school of the nice rhymes and songs our parents taught us, but  the songs we sang on the street with our friends.

Your team had a steamboat,
the steamboat had a bell.
My team had a submarine
and blew it up to..

Hell-o operator,

give me number nine
and if you cannot reach them
I'll kick your fat...

Behind the refrigerator 

there is a piece of glass
and if you go and slip on it,
you'll fall and cut your..

Ass-k me no more questions

tell me no more lies
The boys are in the girls' room,
zipping up their..

 flies are in the meadow,
the bees are in the park.
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing
in the D-A-R-K,
D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K
Dark, dark dark!


I wonder if they still write music like that?  How about one of my favorites;




Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
little dirty birdies feet.
Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts.
That's what we had for lunch.

Whenever we played a team sport or decided who went first, it was imperative to recite this rhyme.  Keep in mind I was born in 1952 and we grew up with racism.


Eenie, meanie, minie mo,
Catch a N (n-word) by the toe.
If he hollers let him go.
Eenie, meanie, minie mo.

My mother told me to pick the very best one

and Y-O-U is you.

Popeye was all the rage on children's TV.  




I'm Popeye the sailor man,

I live in a garbage can.
I eat all the worms 
and spit out the germs
I'm Popeye the sailor man.

Children didn't live on fast food back then, therefore obesity was probably genetic. We cruel little bastards could not resist a rhyme to make fun of the fatties.




Fatty, fatty two by four
Can't get through the bathroom door.
So he did it on the floor.
Wiped it up and did some more.

Boys were supposed to be friends with boys and girls be friends with girls. God help you if your best friend was someone of the opposite sex.




John and Mary sitting in a tree,
K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
First comes love
then comes marriage,
then comes Mary with a baby carriage.

School was a target of youthful songs.




My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken all the rules.
Now we're off to the office, to hang the principal.
Our school is burning down.

Glory, glory hallelujah,

Teacher hit me with a ruler.
So I bopped her on the beanie
with a rotten tangerinie.
Our school is burning down.

Some of the songs were actually recordings of the day, such as this one.



On top of spaghetti,
all covered with cheese.
I lost my poor meatball,
when somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table

and onto the floor
and then my poor meatball
rolled out the door.

It rolled in the garden

and under a bush.
And then my poor meatball
was nothing but mush.

The mush was a tasty,

as tasty could be.
And then the next summer,
It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered

all covered with moss, 
and on it grew meatballs
in spaghetti sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,

all covered with cheese.
Hold on to your meatball,
whenever you sneeze.

A milk additive called Bosco was being advertised on TV. So we had to plagiarize the  commercials tune with this delightful version.




I hate Bosco, it is bad for me.

Mommy puts it in my milk to try to poison me.

I fooled Mommy, I put it in her tea.

Now I have no Mommy who tries to poison me.

I went to summer camp and learned this ditty.




Willy went down in a bucket.

The bucket went down in a well.
His wife cut the rope to the bucket
and Willy went straight down to..

Ting-a-ling-a-ling. Tra-la-la-la.

Sweet are the voices that sing from afar.


Ting-a-ling-a-ling. Tra-la-la-la.
He played on his Spanish guitar.

We had class trips and a bus was rented to drive us to our destination. Our poor teachers and a few brave parent volunteers were always serenaded by this tune.



Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall.
Ninety-nine bottles of beer.
You take one down and pass it around,
there's ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall.

Here is one that my Mom taught me. I think it comes from the song, "It Ain't Gonna' Rain No More."

I woke up this morning and gazed upon the wall,
The bedbugs and the skeeters were havin' a game of ball.
The score was one to nothing the skeeters were ahead.
The bedbugs hit a homerun and knocked me out of bed.

Perhaps you may have heard different lyrics to all of the tunes. But the above is the versions that I recall.

I have to wonder if the children of today are growing up with their own treasury of rhymes or do they just know the background music to their computer games.

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