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Paul Beardsley
2008-Aug-27, 09:25 PM
How did a 150 year old secular Christmas song become so strongly associated with a character attack on the caped crusader?

I’ve been reading about it on Wikipedia, and I note that there appears to be two main versions of the parody.

The one I learnt at school – the one I assume is the English version – goes:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin flew away
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And landed in the hay.

I first heard the version that I assume is the American one on The Simpsons. (This one is quoted on Wiki.)

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And the Joker got away.

The American version scores in that another character from the Batman stories gets a mention, but is otherwise pretty lame to my ears. This is partly because “away” doesn’t rhyme with “egg”, and partly because in the UK we don’t much use the term “laid an egg” to mean something isn’t very good.

Any other versions/theories?

Matherly
2008-Aug-27, 09:27 PM
My suspicion is the Joker himself coined it. :)

Swift
2008-Aug-27, 09:35 PM
I recall a version from my childhood that went:

Jingle bells, Santa smells,
Rodolph laid an egg

Luckily I don't remember the rest. And no, I can't explain it (like why a reindeer lays an egg).

mugaliens
2008-Aug-27, 09:37 PM
In college we sang the fourth line as, "before they tapped the keg, Hey!"

That solved a lot of problems. Solves the rhyming problem, too.

The second time through it was, "so be sure and break a leg."

Come to think of it, it was high school, not college, and was at the drama club parties.

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-27, 10:22 PM
The version I learned went:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin Laid an egg
Batmobile, lost its wheel,
and Joker took ballet

KaiYeves
2008-Aug-27, 10:29 PM
Yes, sometimes the last line is rendered "And the Joker learned ballet, hey!"

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-27, 10:56 PM
You know, this is real folk music. Not some guy in a flannel shirt and blue jeans strumming on a guitar. This. Passed down through the oral tradition, changed and mutated by the percipients and listeners, This song is barely two generations old at best, and yet there is already a number of different versions. It is just fascinating.

KaiYeves
2008-Aug-28, 12:05 AM
Let's not forget the Apollo 8 Week version of "Jingle Bells":


Jingle bells, those F-1 bells, jingle all five,
O what fun it is to ride on SA-503.
Jingle bells, those J-2 bells, jingle all six,
O what fun it is to ride in CM-104.

Siguy
2008-Aug-28, 12:37 AM
Well, there's also "...and Joker played ballet". The last line varies quite frequently.

An occasional second-verse is:
Batman's in the kitchen
Robin's in the hall
Joker's in the bathroom
Peeing on the wall

Jens
2008-Aug-28, 01:26 AM
How did a 150 year old secular Christmas song become so strongly associated with a character attack on the caped crusader?


I assume that's a serious question, but I think the answer simply is that children like to take songs that they know (including traditional songs) and change the lyrics to make them funny. I don't think there's anything special about Jingle Bells or Batman in that regard.

Gillianren
2008-Aug-28, 03:36 AM
You know, this is real folk music. Not some guy in a flannel shirt and blue jeans strumming on a guitar. This. Passed down through the oral tradition, changed and mutated by the percipients and listeners, This song is barely two generations old at best, and yet there is already a number of different versions. It is just fascinating.

Where do you think those people got their songs? There are literally hundreds of versions of some of the songs that became hits in the Sixties.

Kaptain K
2008-Aug-28, 04:28 AM
Where do you think those people got their songs? There are literally hundreds of versions of some of the songs that became hits in the Sixties.

"We four Beatles of Liverpool are
Bass and drums and two on guitar
John and Paul and gear George Harrison
Following Ringo Starr.

Graybeard6
2008-Aug-28, 04:37 AM
Jingle bells, go to hell
Shove it up your sleigh
I'm completely ticked off
By this humbug Christmas day.

GB ~1970

Celestial Mechanic
2008-Aug-28, 04:59 AM
Not just Jingle Bells!

We three kings of orient are,
Trying to smoke a rubber cigar.
It was loaded and exploded,
Now we're on yonder star, oh-oh ...
Nor even Christmas carols. To the tune of Allouette:

Diarrhea, we like diarrhea,
Diarrhea the game we like to play.
First you fill the toilet bowl,
Then you watch it overflow,
On the floor, out the door,
Over your head, now you're dead, whoa!
Diarrhea, we like diarrhea,
Diarrhea the game we like to play.
Children do not care about taste or political correctness. Grown-ups aren't much better. There's a parody of the Colonel Bogey March (also known as the theme from Bridge Over the River Kwai) that I believe was popular during World War II that I just cannot quote here because of the subject matter.

mike alexander
2008-Aug-28, 05:11 AM
Now I remember. Ca. 1957, I'd say:

Jingle bells, Santa smells,
Easter's on the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a souped-up Chevrolet

Kaptain K
2008-Aug-28, 05:30 AM
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He's coming 'round the corner in a pink and purple ford
He's got one hand on the throttle
and one hand on a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer"

jokergirl
2008-Aug-28, 05:51 AM
Making Christmas songs into something that will make you giggle (or at least grin dirtily in remembrance of when it was funny) whenever you hear them isn't necessarily an english-language only tradition. I can think of a bunch of German ones we "adorned" in similar ways.

;)

Tog
2008-Aug-28, 09:00 AM
One I recall from around the 4th grade (1978?) was:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher and we've broken every rule
Now we're marching down the hall to hang the principal
Our troops are marching on.

Glory, glory hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
Hid behind the bank
With a US Army tank
Teacher don't teach no more.

And people blame games for the stuff kids come up with.

Paul- The batman version I learned was the American one you listed. The thing is, and it may be an accent thing, "laid an egg" is actually sung more like "lay danegg". It does rhyme with away the way I learned it.

I think the whole thing comes down to parody. When done well, it can be really good. Kids know simple songs, and want to make a funny song like the ones they hear, so they take the songs they know and apply words and themes that they know. I don't know when that Batman version got legs, but for a kid, adding a comic theme to a song that was as simple as "Jingle Bells" doesn't really surprise me much.

When I was a teen, we converted "Shut Down" by the Beach Boys to "Shot Down" about a dogfight between an F-16 and F-4. Another friend came up with "I want my K-F-C" to Dire Straits' "Money for Nothin'"

Jens
2008-Aug-28, 09:41 AM
Children do not care about taste or political correctness. Grown-ups aren't much better. There's a parody of the Colonel Bogey March (also known as the theme from Bridge Over the River Kwai) that I believe was popular during World War II that I just cannot quote here because of the subject matter.

I never heard that, but found it on Wikipedia of all places. I knew a different version of the song, though, about Comet (a cleanser).

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green,
Comet, it tastes like gasoline,
Comet, it makes you vomit, so get your Comet, and vomit, today.

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-28, 11:18 AM
There is an old song that goes
"Tell me jonney, do your ears hang low,
do you time them in a knot,
do you tie them in a bow,
do you throw o'er your shoulder like a Continental soldier,
tell me jonney, do your ears hang low?" It itself a variation riddled song. However in my mothers day, they would replace ear with boob for instant childrens giggle fest.

Tinaa
2008-Aug-28, 11:50 AM
Jingle Bells, shotgun shells,
Grannie's got a gun.
Oh what fun it is to see
Grandpa on the run!

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-28, 12:10 PM
A variation I made up myself. Guess the original.


I hate him, so do we,
Lets gang up and kill Barney
With a bang and a boom from a double barreled gun
No dinosaur spoilin' our fun!

Click Ticker
2008-Aug-28, 12:20 PM
Oh good, it hasn't been done yet:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid and egg
Blows his nose in Cheerios
And eats them right away

The second line doesn't look right, but the last two are correct.

Another one (to the tune of "This land is your land, this land is my land...":

This land is my land
It is not your land
I've got a shot gun
You don't got one
I'll blow your head off
If you don't get out
This land was made for me not you.

Celestial Mechanic
2008-Aug-28, 12:43 PM
I never heard that, but found it on Wikipedia of all places. I knew a different version of the song, though, about Comet (a cleanser).

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green,
Comet, it tastes like gasoline,
Comet, it makes you vomit, so get your Comet, and vomit, today.
I remember that one! And still think of it when I scour the sink, too. :D

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-28, 01:03 PM
And the definitive classic,
Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Green_Gobs_of_Greasy,_Grimy_Gopher_Guts).
And then there is one that my mother taught me.

Lulu had steamboat,
steamboat had a bell,
Lulu went to heaven,
steamboat went to. . .
Hello Operator,
Give me number nine,
If you do not answer I will slap you on the. . .
Behind the door,
is a small piece of glass,
If you step upon it,
You will cut your. . .
Ask me no more questions,
Tell me no more lies.

SeanF
2008-Aug-28, 01:37 PM
One I recall from around the 4th grade (1978?)...
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Throw the teacher overboard
Listen to her scream...

Roving Philosopher
2008-Aug-28, 01:59 PM
And the definitive classic,
Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Green_Gobs_of_Greasy,_Grimy_Gopher_Guts).
And then there is one that my mother taught me.

Lulu had steamboat,
steamboat had a bell,
Lulu went to heaven,
steamboat went to. . .
Hello Operator,
Give me number nine,
If you do not answer I will slap you on the. . .
Behind the door,
is a small piece of glass,
If you step upon it,
You will cut your. . .
Ask me no more questions,
Tell me no more lies.


The Gopher Guts version I know isn't listed on the Wikipedia page (though it is very similar to several versions there). And I know I somewhat different version of the steamboat one:


Mary had a steamboat,
The steamboat had a bell,
Mary went to heaven,
The steamboat went to...

Hello operator,
Give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me,
I'll kick you in your....

Behind the 'frigerator,
there was a piece of glass,
Mary sat upon it,
and cut up her whole...

Ask me no more questions,
I'll tell you no more lies,
The boys are in the bathrooms,
Zipping up their....

Flies are in the kitchen,
Bees are in the park,
The boys and girls are kissin'
In the D-A-R-K dark!

As I recall, this was a rhyme used in a game that involved a lot of coordinated clapping and hand-slapping with another person..

KaiYeves
2008-Aug-28, 02:47 PM
An occasional second-verse is:
Batman's in the kitchen
Robin's in the hall
Joker's in the bathroom
Peeing on the wall
Or:
Batman's in the kitchen
Robin's in the hall
The Joker's on the tennis court
Losing to the ball.

Over on MuseBlog, we modified Tom Lenher's "Wernher Von Braun" to be making fun of Doctor Doom.

farmerjumperdon
2008-Aug-28, 03:01 PM
The last line in my childhood years was:

"And Alfred lost a leg."

No meaning to them; just nonsense lyrics made up by kids. The high point of the commercialism of this genre has to be "Pornographic priestess, crabalocker housewife . . ."

Gillianren
2008-Aug-28, 04:49 PM
I never heard that, but found it on Wikipedia of all places.

There's a Straight Dope about it, too, analyzing some of the possible historical accuracy of it.

tdvance
2008-Aug-28, 05:12 PM
Oh good, it hasn't been done yet:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid and egg
Blows his nose in Cheerios
And eats them right away
.


The version in my elementary school was similar to this:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
15 miles away
Blows his nose in Cheerios
and eats them everyday

Nadme
2008-Aug-28, 05:20 PM
Whoa...I'm gone for a few days and everyone's high on something. :lol:

The original post (jingles) are not familiar at all and I've been an American for 43 years...

Paul Beardsley
2008-Aug-28, 05:56 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. Some very interesting, and some quite funny.


Paul- The batman version I learned was the American one you listed. The thing is, and it may be an accent thing, "laid an egg" is actually sung more like "lay danegg". It does rhyme with away the way I learned it.

Okay, but I still don't see how that can rhyme with "away".

I understand the whole parody angle - heck, I still do parody songs now - but I'm just curious as to why Jingle Bells parodies should be so dominated by the Batman one. Interestingly, in both the US and UK versions, the context has us thinking of Robin as the Boy Wonder, yet he immediately goes on to display characteristics associated with a bird (i.e. laying an egg or flying away). This link to the Christmas robin draws us back to the spirit of the original song, even though it was intended as a winter song rather than a specifically Christmas-related song.

I much prefer the UK version because Robin flying away sounds like a choice, motivated by Batmanís poor hygiene. By contrast, in the US version, Robin laying an egg is arbitrary, and involves a gender change, which is one change too many.

(That piece of analysis was deliberately over-the-top, BTW ;) )

Tog
2008-Aug-28, 06:39 PM
Okay, but I still don't see how that can rhyme with "away".

I understand the whole parody angle - heck, I still do parody songs now - but I'm just curious as to why Jingle Bells parodies should be so dominated by the Batman one.

In the version I know, the "G" in egg isn't really said, so much as loosely implied."Robin lay d'naaayg" is probably the closest I can get with out emailing a .wav of it. And neither of us want that.

There is also the classic "Rusty Chevrolet", by The Yuppers (I think), Same accent as in Fargo, give or take.

Bouncing tru da snow drifts
In a big blue cloud ah smooke
People laugh as I drive by
I wonder what's the jyoke.

Rust and smoke,
Da heater's broke
Da door just blew away.
I light a match
to see da dash
And den I start to pray.
Da frame is bent
Da muffler went
Da radio, it's okay
Oh what fun it is drive dis rusty Chevrolet.

There are a few more verses, but that should give an idea.

Occam
2008-Aug-28, 07:40 PM
When I was a kid (in the 60's) we sang...

We're four Beatles, that's what we are
John in a taxi, Paul in a car,
George on his scooter, beeping his hooter,
following Ringo Starr