Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Examples Of "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" Children's Rhymes, Part II ("Dirty Versions)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part pancocojams series on children' rhymes that begin with the lyrics "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" or include those lyrics in that rhyme, and also use the tune of the 1891 vaudeville and music hall song entitled "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay".

Part II includes excerpts of several online articles about the reasons why children chant anti-social and "rude" rhymes/songs. Part II also showcases selected examples of "sexualized" ("dirty") examples of ""Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" children's rhymes.

WARNING: These examples may be considered unsuitable for children.

Click for Part I of this two part pancocojams series. Part I provides information about the song "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" and includes comments about the reasons why children chant anti-social and "rude" rhymes. Part I also showcases some examples of "clean" (not sexualized) examples of "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" children's rhymes.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, socio-cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

These excerpts are given in no particular order.
Excerpt #1:
"An introduction to children's jokes and rude rhymes" by Michael Rosen, 26 Oct 2016
"Humour is an important component of children’s play, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their verbal play.

Humour serves a wide range of purposes, allowing children to challenge, undermine and disarm adult power and seriousness, to explore taboo topics as various as sex or toilets, and to experiment with dazzling displays of verbal dexterity. Many funny rhymes are ones which accompany specific games, activities, such as counting out, clapping or skipping. Rude variations of ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’, for example, accompanied clapping games in the mid-20th century. Others are simply performed and passed along for fun. Their humour, their cheek, their rhyme and rhythm, imagery, play on words and frequent parodic trades are all reasons why they appeal to children and why they’re memorable.

An important class of verbal humour is parody. The history of children’s language play abounds in parodic versions of different genres, Christmas carols, pop songs, advertising jingles, Valentine’s Day rhymes, Happy Birthday, football chants, musicals, TV theme songs. The wide variety of genres involved demonstrates a real mixing bowl of popular cultural references, where everything is up for grabs, nothing is sacred and the punch line is all. The sources are equally diverse, other children, adults, comics, books, television, films and the internet."...

Excerpt #2
Children Revel in Rude Rhymes: Democracy underpinned by the ability to question and mock authority
by Peter Hinchliffe (Hinchy), Published 2007-12-23
...."Judging by their playground chants and rhymes, children are possessed of a rebellious sense of humor. So it has been down the centuries...

While playing skipping and other games children chant rhymes that break taboos by poking fun at the adult world....

Children who challenge authority with a subversive, and often vulgar, rhyme grow up to be ever wary of authority.

And the ability to question, and sometimes, mock those who would run our lives for us is the firm foundation upon which democracy is built."...

Excerpt #3: Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 08:56 PM

From Where Texts and Children Meet by Eve Bearne, Victor Watson (London: Routledge, 2000), page 109:

"There were many other examples of games that seemed to reflect the strong influence of the energy and bravado exhibited and promoted by the Spice Girls. There was evidence of a particular confidence and exuberance in the way the girls were playing, which could be a response to the role models offered by pop groups like the Spice Girls. The following text shares many of these features; the girls who played this game felt that it was definitely taboo as far as adults were concerned. It was accompanied by rather gross and comical mime as they acted out the text, and is a good example of one of the many rhymes, many with long ancestry, that allow girls to 'make fun of the still unknown and rather frightening state of adulthood' (Opie 1997: 210)"

We are the teenage girls.
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dungarees
Down to our sexy knees.
I met a boy last night.
He gave me 50p
To go behind a bush
And have it off with me.
My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise,
But daddy jumped for joy.
It was a baby boy.
My mother done the splits
And had fifty fits.

What sort of text is this? Where has it come from?

As Iona Opie suggests, these mocking rhymes often have a long ancestry and this one certainly has an ancestry, if not a very long one. There is a version of 'We are the Teenage Girls' in The Singing Game that can be traced back to the 1970s:
Jim Dixon quotes a clean example of 'We Are The ___ Girls" from Opie and Opie's book on children's games in the United Kingdom. That example, titled "We Are The Barbie Girls" and "We Are The Teenage Girls" example given above demonstrate the very close relationship between examples of the "We Are The __ Girls" children's rhyme family and the "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" children's rhyme family. That relationship is particularly evident in the dirty (sexualized) examples of both of those rhymes which share not only the same tune but also many of the same words.

Excerpt #4
From Rhymes with ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay. January 13, 2010 10:16 AM
"One of the research problems that plagues children's folklorists is the fact that kids are reluctant informants. Kids know that adults don't approve of most of their nastier, meaner, dirtier content, and won't share it easily - they don't want to embarass themselves or appear impolite or get in trouble. It's actually one of the hardest cultures for a scholar to penetrate; very insular, and protective of its own knowledge...."
posted by Miko at 11:01 AM on January 13, 2010


"Side note: A lot of these that are complete song parodies got to kids through the vector of the military. There's some overlap there. WWII generated a ton of popular song parodies that then went everywhere geographically. It doesn't take too many older brothers, big kids, or grandpas singing their off-color songs to pre-teen boys to get that stuff to enter kidlore.
posted by Miko at 1:06 PM on January 13, 2010

These examples are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be a comprehensive compilation of these rhymes.
I grew up in Western Massachusetts and remember learning the following version in the late 1960's

Ta-ra-ra- boom de-ay
How did I get this way
It was the boy next door
He laid me on the floor
He lifted up my skirt
And gave a little squirt
And right before my eyes
I say my belly rise.
-Tinker, 28 Aug 09,, hereafter known as "Mudcat discussion "We Wear Our Hair In Curls"

we are the great meols girls
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees
down to our sexy knees.

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

you know the boy next door
he got me on the floor
he counted 1 2 3
and stuck it into me

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

then some other stuff about being pregnant and stuff...
i dunno...i forget. was an awesome song though.

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

okay, now i really can't remember any more...

my daddy was suprised
to see my belly rise
my mummy jumped for joy, it was a baby boy

Note: A number of females and a few males (around the same age group) on this British forum indicated that they remembered this rhyme, and posted slightly different versions of it.
-quoted by Azizi Powell, 23 Aug 09 on "Mudcat discussion: We Wear Our Hair In Curls", from -Niamh; 18-03-2007, Location: Near Liverpool, Age: 19 on [discussion site no longer available]


Tah rah rah bom di ay
I can't come out today
It happened yesterday
The boy across the way
He paid me fifty cents
To go behind the fence
He said it wouldn't hurt
And pushed it up my skirt
My mommy was surprised
To see my belly rise
And hear the baby cry
Tah rah rah bom di ay
No demographic information is given with this example.

I learned one from my dad, who probably learned it in Toronto, circa 1958.

Tra la la boom de yay
Did you have yours today?
I had mine yesterday
That's why I walk this way!

I always thought it was supposed to be about inoculations, but I never actually asked my dad.
-Merav Hoffman December 9, 2009, comment in discussion of "Ta ra ra boom de ay", by thor: Adam Selzer December 7, 2009 (with 74 comments as of July 25, 2017), hereafter given as "playground jungle" article, 2009".
I initially included this example in Part I of this series. However, I think that this version has sexual connotations even when this is the entire rhyme. However, that sexualized connotation is "spelled out" in longer versions of this example, as shown below.

Mom used to have a little diddy from her school years (Seattle, early 1950's) but cannot remember the last verse… it was:

Tra la la la boom de ay
Have you had yours today?
I had mine yesterday
Thats why I walk this way
He laid me on the couch
All I said was ouch……

Then there were two more lines but she cannot remember them!!! Anyone else know this version?
-Anonymous, October 10, 2011, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

Tra la la boom de ay
have you had yours today
I had mine yesterday
that's why I feel this way
he laid me on the couch
and all I said was ouch
now junior's on the way
tra la la boom de ay
-Anonymous, November 17, 2011, (Bakersfield, CA 1957), comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

Tra la la boom de ay
Did you get yours today?
I got mine yesterday
From the boy across the way
He gave me fifty cents
To go behind the fence
He pulled my panties down
And threw me on the ground
My mommy was surprised
To see my belly rise.
I can't go out to play
'Cause Junior's on the way.
-Anonymous, March 30, 2012, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

I heard this version in Elmhurst, Queens, circa 1946. I learned it from a friend and sang it to my mother, who was not amused.

Did you get yours today?
I got mine yesterday,
from a boy across the way.
My mother was surprised
to see my stomach rise.
Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay, Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay.
-Anita Gorman, February 12, 2013, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009
Pancocojams Editor: "1946" is the earliest date that I've found for "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" children's rhymes , whether they are clean or dirty. I have found other examples dated in the mid to late 1950s. I wonder if this is a typo and the commenter meant to write "1956".

from late 50s early 60s MT

ta da da boom de eh
how did I get this way
it was the boy next door
he laid me on the floor
then to my surprise
my tummy began to rise
I remember still how hard
how hard my mommy cried
-la March 17, 2013, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay
Have you had yours today?
I had mine yesterday
A girl upon the way

I laid her on the couch
And all she said was ouch!
Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay
Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay
- Choti Giri March 27, 2014, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

1970s-early 80s metro Boston area:

Tra la la boom de ay
How did I get this way?
It was the boy next door
He pushed me on the floor
He shouted 1 2 3
He stuck it into me
My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise
My father jumped for joy
It was a baby boy!

The baby boy part was always said with a sweet little, cutesy turn of voice. Children celebrating rape – what a world
-naydi April 11, 2014, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

My friends and I grew up outside of Chicago in the early 1960's and we would sing it with these lyrics:

Did you do yours today?
I did mine yesterday

I paid her fifty cents
To walk across the fence
She laid down on the couch
I shoved mine up her pouch

Her mother was surprised
To see her belly rise
Her dad was overjoyed
It was a baby boy

I have to admit that back then and at that age, the song didn't make much sense to me, but we boys all sang it anyway. It's interesting how many similar yet different versions there are… all local colloquialisms, I suppose. I wonder where the original "got her pregnant" version was started.
-AWG, Chicago area September 29, 2015,comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

New York City – LA LA LA Boom Shaday Can’t Come Outside Today What Happened Yesterday A Boy Came Past My Way He Gave Me Fifty Cents To Lay Across The Beach He Said It Didn’t Hurt He Pulled Up My Skirt My Mother Is So Thrilled To Hear Its A Baby Boy My Father’s So Disgusted To See My Cherry Busted LA LA LA Boom Shaday Can’t Come Outside Today
-May, November 11, 2016, comment in article "playground jungle" article, 2009

This concludes Part II of this two part series on "Tra La La Boom De Ay" Children's Rhymes.

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