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head and shoulders, knees and crying
September 30, 2011 11:11 PM   Subscribe


 
I had no idea there was another tune (I'm Canadian).

That's a very depressing ad. I cried a little.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:15 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not just in Canada. I always thought that the non-London Bridge versions were just people trying to jazz things up.

But highlighting London Bridge as a concept for that ad is poignant.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:20 PM on September 30, 2011


Shall we go to the mall?

No. The line must be drawn ... HERE.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:21 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I am similarly debilitated at some point, I really do not want my wife to sing "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" to me. Can I include that in a living will?
posted by argybarg at 11:40 PM on September 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


Wait, that is seriously weird. I grew up in Atlanta, and learned that song to the London Bridge tune.

WTF?
posted by strixus at 11:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Knees link is... O_o
posted by kmz at 11:45 PM on September 30, 2011


Youtube videos of the Dutch equivalent are often to a happy hardcore rhytm.
Lyrics: hoofd, schouders, knie en teen.
posted by joost de vries at 11:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


ALS is one of those diseases that make me an advocate for physician-assisted suicide. I can't imagine living for years, just watching my body slowly become useless and losing the ability to perform even the most basic functions. (Alzheimers is another of those diseases, for which you can replace 'body' with 'brain' in the preceding sentence.)
posted by Hargrimm at 12:06 AM on October 1, 2011


This is pretty depressing, yes, but the most depressing Canadian PSA is seared into my brain: an Ontario anti-drinking and driving one where the guy was locked into a neck brace at the ending, and the idea, I believe, was that he'd killed his family(?)... *shudder*

Just thinking about it gives me the willies. Anyone else recall this?
posted by stinkycheese at 12:23 AM on October 1, 2011


Not a neck brace, I mean the full can't-move-your-head brace.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:23 AM on October 1, 2011


We Canadians love to make you cry with our PSAs.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:29 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this is a weird-ass thread if ever there was one. Let me address it in two parts:

1) I had never realized that "Head and shoulders knees and toes" was sung to London Bridge - but it is, of course, and I can't imagine it being sung any other way. Of course, I'm Canadian, and so are most of the people I run into on the street here. How do you people sing it?

2) ALS took down my grandmother, to whom I was terrifically close. A few years lasts a long time when you're 13. The slide is inexorable and that ad captured more than 30 seconds ought to have been able to. It doesn't always wait until you're in your 70s to strike, however. Many go in their prime. And unlike many other diseases, from what I can tell, we know eerily little about it, and have made commensurate progress. Of all the terrifying diseases out there - and there are so many! - it must be the one that scares me most, and I'd encourage everyone to at least take a look into it. It's one worth beating. (Thanks!)
posted by bicyclefish at 12:29 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh what the hell. Here's a link.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:31 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm American and had no idea that the tune was ever anything except "London Bridge".
posted by Justinian at 12:37 AM on October 1, 2011


Yes, as another Canadian I had no idea it was sung another way. It seems weirdly upbeat. Yet at the same time I have to agree with argybarg. If I ever get this disease I don't want anyone singing this shit to me, no matter what the tune. I haven't lost my intelligence.

Christ this is depressing. Next thing you know they'll have an AIDS awareness ad to skinamerinkydink.
posted by aclevername at 12:42 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow :(
posted by sdari0 at 12:42 AM on October 1, 2011


Somebody told me that Ring around the Rosie was a song about the plague. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is about the eventual death of the Sun. If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands is probably about venereal disease.

Children's songs are way too depressing.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:09 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


twoleftfeet: "Somebody told me that Ring around the Rosie was a song about the plague. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is about the eventual death of the Sun. If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands is probably about venereal disease."


Sing a Song of Sixpence was a recruitment song for pirates!
posted by Deflagro at 1:59 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do you people sing it?

This clip uses the tune we know in Britain and Australia. See also The Wiggles' version.
posted by rory at 2:57 AM on October 1, 2011


Popular children's songs have been influenced by vulgar children's stories, poems, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes.

Hey Diddle Diddle is one of the most offensive nursery rhymes, advocating a diddling between the Cat and Fiddle, a combination of bestiality and musical instrument intercourse. The cow gets high on drugs and "jumps over the moon", while the Dog laughs hysterically and nonsensically and without any form of caring compassion. Finally, the Dish and Spoon run away together to have an extramarital affair.

Most children's songs involve extreme depravity.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:05 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somebody told me that Ring around the Rosie was a song about the plague.

Aw, cheer up twoleftfeet!
posted by Chichibio at 3:09 AM on October 1, 2011


That is a very good commercial.
posted by arse_hat at 3:19 AM on October 1, 2011


Now you've got me started.

Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, Three bags full. One for the master,... I can't go on, so offensive is the racial subtext.

Jack fell down and broke his crown... head injuries are not humorous, children.

Pop goes the weasel... Another drug reference.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do... Look, I'm sympathetic with the plight of single mothers, but I don't want my kids to hear about them.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again... The failure of our medical system isn't something I want to tell my children about. It was Humpty's fault for not purchasing enough insurance, right?

This old man, he played one, He played knick-knack on my thumb... Look, children, he may be a nice old man, but don't let him play knick-knack with you, on any part of your body.

I Love Little Pussy... it's a nursery rhyme! It's a porn flick!

Hot Cross Buns... it's a nursery rhyme! It's a porn flick!

Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he; He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl.... Marijuana addiction is no laughing matter, kids.

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you... A hallucinatory combination of colors and an obvious drug reference.

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell. Hi-ho, the derry-o. The farmer in the dell... This one is so disgusting that I'm reluctant to explain it. But you have to see the full lyrics to understand how twisted, how sick, this piece of filth really is. I don't want my children near anything this perverted.

The cheese stands alone.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:40 AM on October 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think we need a sunshine chaser; here's Derek Griffiths with the theme song for his kids' show Heads and Tails, which had the "proper" HSK&T tune.
posted by scruss at 4:19 AM on October 1, 2011


That's one of the songs that made me never, ever do the section in our ESL texts that involved singing. Sure, it's a kids class, but no way in hell am I singing those songs. Ten years on, I know people who still know those songs, and can sing them (complete with tortured look on face) at the drop of a hat. There's a lot of other ways to teach English, it doesn't have to be with god awful earworms.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:38 AM on October 1, 2011


I've lived all over the US and I've never ever heard another tune to HSKT than LBiFD.
posted by DU at 4:46 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


ok nobody tell me the origins of the hokey pokey
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:50 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I grew up in Alabama, and we knew the song as "Bed and Bolders, Bees and Bows". I had no idea there were other lyrics.

Also, we sang it to a kind of mashup melody based on "The Wabash Cannonball" and "Do You Know the Way To San Jose".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Interesting to hear the Americans chiming in that they sing it according to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down." Every Canadian I have talked to learned it that way and the smattering of Americans I polled had learned it the other way (as sung in the first two links and apparently everywhere else in the world). I have an Kentuckian friend who works with children and now lives in Canada who said that he had never heard the LBiFD version before moving up here. It seems however that the boundary between the two versions is not as distinct as the 49th parallel.
posted by 256 at 5:44 AM on October 1, 2011


Wanna know what's really fucked up? Ask people from other countries to imitate the sound of common animals and write it out. I'll get the ball rolling:

Frog: Ribbit! Ribbit!
Cat: Meow!
Dog: Ruff!
Crowing Rooster: Cockadoodledoo!

That last one never fails to amuse the non-Americans.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:52 AM on October 1, 2011


Japan:

Frog: kero kero
Cat: not quite sure... ni-ah-oh?
Dog: wan wan
Crowing Rooster: ko-keh-ko-ko
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 AM on October 1, 2011


ok nobody tell me the origins of the hokey pokey
BUFFY: So, how's it start?

GILES: I, uh, jump out of the circle and I jump back in it and um (reluctantly) I shake my Gourd.

BUFFY: I know this ritual! The ancient shamans were next called upon to do the hokey pokey & turn themselves around!

GILES: Go Quest.

(Buffy makes an amused face. Giles looks embarrassed. He sighs, rolls his eyes, jumps into the circle of twigs, jumps out, and shakes the gourd. Nothing seems to happen. He and Buffy look at each other.)

BUFFY: And that's what it's all about.
-- 5.18 - Intervention
posted by kmz at 6:24 AM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, as a data point, I'd never even heard of the HSK&T song until recently. I guess not even being in the US until I was 7 might have had something to do with it. Anyway, I've only heard it recently from my sister-in-law singing it to her kids, and she uses the non-London Bridge tune. We're in Texas.
posted by kmz at 6:26 AM on October 1, 2011


The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario ran some gruesome PSA, the one featuring a chef made me wince every time.
posted by Harpocrates at 6:36 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is sung to the tune of 'Burying the Lede'.
posted by Flashman at 6:45 AM on October 1, 2011


To add to flapjax's list (and suggest an alternate), cows here say moe ( pronounced like the Stooge) and I've been told roosters say ko-ko-ri-ko. I'd ask Mrs Ghidorah, but she's newly obsessed with Plants bs Zombies and has been rendered incapable of conversation.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:58 AM on October 1, 2011


Australian here... as it turns out I am equally familiar with both versions.
posted by cmetom at 7:02 AM on October 1, 2011


This clip uses the tune we know in Britain and Australia.



I'm American and that's how I've always heard it too. Never heard it like this.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was also this commercial in th US.
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 AM on October 1, 2011


This clip uses the tune we know in Britain and Australia.

That is the only tune I knew for this song, until today. I grew up in Connecticut, for what it's worth.

Bonus: The variant we sang at Ecology Camp.
posted by pemberkins at 7:44 AM on October 1, 2011


Japan:

Frog: kero kero
Cat: not quite sure... ni-ah-oh?


I've always seen cats in Japanese sources say "Nyan" (as in Nyan-Cat) or "Nyaaaa." Which is pretty accurate, in my book.

she's newly obsessed with Plants bs Zombies and has been rendered incapable of conversation.

My imagined concept of this game, based on the title, is inexplicably charming.

All that being said, I have some friends with MS, and I have done some work with an MS charity. When I am feeling bad about my neurological problems, I think "don't gripe; you could have MS." When they are feeling bad, they say "don't gripe; you could have ALS."
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2011


Hokey *Cokey*, damn it.

And HSKT is definitely not sung as a slow dirge. It's completely manic, and has hand-actions to go with it. Ones that put your back out if you're older than about 15.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 8:27 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frog: kva kva
Dog: gaff gaff
Cat: myau
Rooster: kookareku

Cat is the Esperanto of the animal kingdom.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 8:29 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]




Frog: Kvekk kvekk
Dog: Voff Voff
Cat: Mjau
Rooster: Kykkeliky

(Norwegian)
posted by flippant at 8:42 AM on October 1, 2011


I almost want someone to come in here and tell us if we're supposed to be discussing the tunes of children's songs, or if we're supposed to be discussing tragic diseases. (I mean, clearly, discussing animal sounds is off topic.) It's too hard to do both at once.

That being said:
- Those WSIB ads and the Emily ad (already linked above) are both really horrifying, and i had no idea that horrifying PSAs were a canadian thing
- The London Bridge version of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes isn't actually depressing if it isn't sung slowly as an accompaniment to video of a dying man.
posted by Kololo at 8:59 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hungarian:

Frog: Brekeke
Cat: Miau or Nyau
Dog: Vau
Crowing Rooster: Kukurikú!
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:08 AM on October 1, 2011


Plants bs Zombies

Zombie: Plaaaants!
Plant: No plants here!
Zombie: Muuuuh! *shuffles away*
posted by dirigibleman at 9:10 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was really appalled by this whole London Bridge nonsense until I called my boyfriend and asked him to sing HSKT (to make sure he does it right - I can't be having children with a guy who thinks it sounds like London Bridge)...and he had literally no idea what the song was. Not a clue. I then sang it for him (correctly), but it didn't even ring any bells. Someone please explain this man to me. Late 30s, raised in Northern Virginia.
posted by naoko at 10:06 AM on October 1, 2011


Naoko, raised in NoVa too, a bit younger than you, also never heard the London Bridge nonsense before.
posted by sweetkid at 10:42 AM on October 1, 2011


I thought heads, shoulders, knees, and toes referred to the contents of Jeffery Dahmer's refrigerator.
posted by dr_dank at 10:47 AM on October 1, 2011


But sweetkid, you've heard HSKT, right? My boyfriend is claiming that he has never heard the song in any form whatsoever, which totally out-weirds the London Bridge thing. He tried to blame it on being older than me (I'm late 20s, he's late 30s) but I was like, no way, my parents grew up singing that song (I just called to confirm that; it is true - mid 50s, Alabama and Georgia, both know the song, neither one thinks it is sung like London Bridge).
posted by naoko at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2011


I"m with your boyfriend, naoko. 42 years old, reared in the deep south, and this is the first time I've ever heard this song, in any variant.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:09 AM on October 1, 2011


Oh, HE'S late thirties -- in that case I'm older than you, still grew up in NoVA, yes heard it before, like this.
posted by sweetkid at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2011


All the non-London Bridge variants sound forced and awkward to me, but then again I was raised in civilization.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]




Sing a Song of Sixpence was a recruitment song for pirates!

And then you linked to the Snopes page!

Snopes made up that page out of whole cloth specifically as a way to demonstrate the idea of false authority. They wanted to show how people would believe something ridiculous simply because someone else said it was true. Note the snopes page on false authority.

Neither, in reference to the comment you were replying to, was Ring Around the Rosie about the plague.

Sorry to be a party pooper. (no I'm not).
posted by Justinian at 12:40 PM on October 1, 2011


I genuinely had no idea anybody else sang this song in the non-London Bridge way and discovering this now only serves to reinforce my belief that Canada is superior in all things.
posted by mightygodking at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is nothing in the world that will shatter your illusions and force you into adulthood like changing your father's diaper.
posted by jefficator at 1:52 PM on October 1, 2011


I don't where you guys are from, but around here, chickens only say "Ko-ko ko-ko ko!"
posted by Spatch at 2:25 PM on October 1, 2011


I was raised in Virginia, never heard HSKT until I moved to Canada. (That was more than forty years ago.)
posted by CCBC at 2:31 PM on October 1, 2011


Lots of VA folk in here for some reason. I’m from NoVA also, and was only familiar with the proper version of HSKT. Because LBiFD already had its own tune. That’s why HSKT is HSKT, and LBiFD is LBiFD. Savvy? (Fake pirate lingo FTW.)

So, another interesting thread might be: “Songs that use the same tune”?
posted by scamper at 3:07 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a children's librarian working with New Canadians and for the past fifteen years HSK&Ts has been the number one favorite song for all the children. Even the little babies recognize it. I had no idea the tune was different in the rest of the world, I thought the wiggles et al were changing the tune to be different. Ya learn something new every day.
posted by saucysault at 3:42 PM on October 1, 2011


Oh, and my friend taught me that Russian frogs are lagooshka (sp?) that say "qua qua" unless they are big ugly ones called jabba but I can't remember their noise.
posted by saucysault at 3:46 PM on October 1, 2011


stupid auto correct
posted by Ghidorah at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2011



I'd noticed that sometimes the old nursery rhymes cross borders (but skip others), like the Swedish Sma Grodorna (little frogs) exists in Japan, same song, different words. (But I never heard in the Commonwealth). (Anyone know what the Japanese call the song?)

But this must the first time I have heard of the same words, set to a different song. Very interesting.
posted by lundman at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, another interesting thread might be: “Songs that use the same tune”?

o/~ A B C D E F G / Up above the world so high / One for the master and one for the dame / W X Y and Z / Twinkle twinkle little star / Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full o/~
posted by hanov3r at 8:46 AM on October 3, 2011


flapjax at midnite: "I grew up in Alabama, and we knew the song as "Bed and Bolders, Bees and Bows". I had no idea there were other lyrics.

Also, we sang it to a kind of mashup melody based on "The Wabash Cannonball" and "Do You Know the Way To San Jose".
"

YouTube or it didn't happen.
posted by deborah at 11:59 PM on October 4, 2011


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