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London Bridge is falling down

Rystil Arden

First Post
I heard London Bridge with "Take the Key and Lock Her Up" and also the the Iron-Bars->Bend and Break->Silver and Gold, all as different verses. Salt and pepper I've never heard, and it does seem bizarre compared to the other verses...
Oh yeah, and single bridge, with "bridge is"
 

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der_kluge

Adventurer
This is indeed very curious. I wonder if the salt and pepper version was more for girls. Any females want to chime in on this one?
 

Aitch Eye

First Post
We just sang the chorus over and over and over and over when we played the game. I think I was only aware there were other lyrics from infrequently heard recordings.

And we always sang it as "bridges", though perhaps the adults heard it as "Bridge is" and so didn't correct us. I remember occasionally thinking it was odd, but the explanation somehow never stuck in my brain, though I must have seen it in print from time to time.

Born and raised in Nebraska.
 

Grew up in New York state, in the Hudson Valley about 1.5 hours from NY City. I learned them as:

London Bridge is...
Take the key...
Build it up with iron bars...

and

Great big globs of greasy grimey gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, chopped by baby parakeets.
Eyeballs rolling up and down the bloody street.
And I forgot my spoon.
 

orchid blossom

First Post
Cthulhu's Librarian said:
Great big globs of greasy grimey gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, chopped by baby parakeets.
Eyeballs rolling up and down the bloody street.
And I forgot my spoon.

I grew up in Wisconsin. I learned London Bridge with the "Take the key" verzion, and the kids in the day care where I worked sang it the same way, but we as teachers never taught it to them.

The gopher guts song I learned almost the same as Cthulhu's Librarian, except the third line...

French fried eyeballs dipped in a pula sauce
And I forgot my spoon-
But I got my straw!
 

Jesus_marley

First Post
When I was a kid I had a friend whose parents were child psychologists. they had some rather "progressive" (read - LOONEY) ideas about raising their child. One of the few things they did consistantly though is work diligently to change the lyrics to child songs that they felt were too violent and then teach those revised lyrics to their child. It may be that the salt and pepper version of "London Bridge" is an example of that practice.

As an aside, I think I may have caused his mother to have a fit when I lent him my book of unedited, unabridged faery tales. Ahhhh.... good times.
 



AsEver

First Post
die_kluge said:
This is indeed very curious. I wonder if the salt and pepper version was more for girls. Any females want to chime in on this one?

I learned the 'take the key' version.

And my gopher came with Mutilated Monkey Meat and Petrified Birdy Feet.
 

ayrwind

First Post
Singapore here. I grew up singing as "london bridge is" and we just sang the chorus over and over again. take the keys, salt and pepper are variants i have never heard of until these posts.
 

Maerdwyn

First Post
Cthulhu's Librarian said:
Great big globs of greasy grimey gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, chopped by baby parakeets.
Eyeballs rolling up and down the bloody street.
And I forgot my spoon.

Huh - there's another (slight) difference.

After the last line (which for me was "squirrels picked up off the street"), we sang
"That's what I had for lunch,
without a spoooon."
 

Simon Collins

Explorer
Barendd Nobeard said:
I also remember other verses: "build it up with iron bars" and "iron bars will bend and break" and "build it up with silver and gold".
I have a great book - "The Origins of Rhymes and Songs" by Jean Harroween - which details several different verses, including mud and clay, iron and steel, silver and gold, and stone so strong (but no salt and pepper!).

There is also an (original?) variant from the Norse Sagas which begins "London Bridge is broken down" which tells of the Vikings ripping down (the then wooden) London Bridge in 1014. The bridge has fallen or been torn (or burned) down several times over the centuries (since the original Roman bridge) and been rebuilt with more modern materials. It also notes that in earlier times, human sacrifices were sometimes walled up within bridges to guarantee the water spirits looking on the bridge favourably (a child's skeleton was found in the remains of a bridge in Bremen, Germany, in the nineteenth century).

My memory was always "London Bridge is falling down" but the book refers all the time to "London Bridge is broken down". UK memory, there (50 miles north of the bridge itself!)
 

Eeralai

First Post
Simon Collins said:
My memory was always "London Bridge is falling down" but the book refers all the time to "London Bridge is broken down". UK memory, there (50 miles north of the bridge itself!)

I thought London Bridge was in Arizona, and so did they when they bought it ;)

Anyway, I taught elementary music for awhile and, although I grew up with the "take the key and lock her up" version, the book I culled songs from had a sort of hybrid of many of the versions talked about. It did the iron bars and all that stuff, but when a person got caught in the bridge, they were aksed if they wanted salt or pepper. If it was salt, they were shaken gently. If it was pepper, it was faster. Then they had to choose silver or gold. Nobody was supposed to know which side of the bridge was silver or gold, but eventually some kid said their choice really loud and then everyone knew. The side with the most kids won. The silver and gold part also is in a similar game with a song called "Oranges and Lemons" which is imortalized in the book 1984 about "Here comes a chopper to chop off your head."
 

Elf Witch

First Post
die_kluge said:
This is indeed very curious. I wonder if the salt and pepper version was more for girls. Any females want to chime in on this one?

I am female and I have two female roomates we have never heard the salt and pepper version we learned it as build it up with iron bars. As did our male roomate. I grew up In South Florida, one roommate grew up in St Pete, another in Erie and the last in Brooklyn.
 


Thanee

First Post
die_kluge said:
Everything I know is wrong!

"Everything You Know Is Wrong"

I was driving on the freeway in the fast lane
With a rabid wolverine in my underwear
When suddenly a guy behind me in the back seat
Popped right up and cupped his hands across my eyes

I guessed, "Is it Uncle Frank or Cousin Louie?"
"Is it Bob or Joe or Walter?"
"Could it be Bill or Jim or Ed or Bernie or Steve?"
I probably would have kept on guessing
But about that time we crashed into the truck

And as I'm laying bleeding there on the asphalt
Finally I recognize the face of my hibachi dealer
Who takes off his prosthetic lips and tells me

Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn't matter

Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong

I was walkin' to the kitchen for some Golden Grahams
When I accidentally stepped into an alternate dimension
And soon I was abducted by some aliens from space
Who kinda looked like Jamie Farr

They sucked out my internal organs
And they took some polaroids
And said I was a darn good sport
And as a way of saying thank you
They offered to transport me back to
Any point in history that I would care to go

And so I had them send me back to last Thursday night
So I could pay my phone bill on time
Just then the floating disembodied head of
Colonel Sanders started yelling

Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn't matter

Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong

I was just about to mail a letter to my evil twin
When I got a nasty papercut
And, well, to make a long story short
It got infected and I died

So now I'm up in heaven with St. Peter
By the pearly gates
And it's obvious he doesn't like
The Nehru jacket that I'm wearing
He tells me that they've got a dress code

Well, he lets me into heaven anyway
But I get the room next to the noisy ice machine
For all eternity
And every day he runs by screaming

Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you used to think was so important
Doesn't really matter anymore
Because the simple fact remains that

Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong
Everything you know is wrong​

Never heard that other song... :eek:

Bye
Thanee
 

Spud

First Post
Cant say id heard of either salt and pepper or lock her up, the version we used to sing when we were nippers was, Build it up with wood and clay, which will wash away. Then other verses with different materials. Bricks and mortar, seem to remember something about gold, but my memory is not what it was.

Coz it was bugging me here is the version I learnt as a kid:

http://www.rhymes.org.uk/london-bridge-is-falling-down.htm
 

die_kluge said:
This is indeed very curious. I wonder if the salt and pepper version was more for girls. Any females want to chime in on this one?
I grew up in a combination of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas...

Take the key and lock her up is the version we sang because of the game that went along with the song that has been talked about already (did that make sense?)

*shrugs* Too early for sense.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
jgbrowning said:
One of my friends (an Athro Phd) did her undergrad thesis on the transmission of childhood knowledge as a form of oral learning. She said that there were many different versions of the kid songs depending upon locale and that some of them were similiar even when separated by great distances.

It was interesting to hear her talk about it. It really is a separate area of oral learning that functions almost entirely independent of adult influence. The older kids often teach the younger kids and it just keeps getting passed on and on.
joe b.

Crothian said:
Do I smell a book coming??

Magical Medieval Society: The Children's Edition?

:)
Nell.
 

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