5 Disturbing Stories Behind Your Favorite Songs For Kids

Mother Goose’s treasure trove of children’s rhymes have delighted the little ones for generations, but maybe we should be taking a few seconds to find out what we’re teaching our kids to say. The songs we think of as children’s songs today weren’t always for kids. Some started off as for grown-ups—and are about much more grown-up things than they seem.

5. Sing A Song Of Sixpence” Was A Pirate Recruiting Song
Photo credit: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Originally, “Sing A Song of Sixpence” wasn’t sung by kids—it was sung by pirates. And it wasn’t just a song. It was a coded message.
When a crew would dock into a harbor, they’d often need to hire more people. Pirates, though, can’t exactly put up a billboard advertising that they’re looking for people to rob and plunder. So, they started singing a song of sixpence whenever they wanted to let people know they were hiring.
The “sixpence” was advertising the daily pay on the ship, and “a pocket full of rye” was a promise to provide each pirate with a leather bag full of rye whiskey. The “blackbirds” were pirates, and a pie was a trap. With us, the song promised, you’ll lure rich ships into thinking you’re their friend—and then spring out and raid their riches.

4. “Jimmy Crack Corn” Is About A Slave Celebrating His Master’s Death

Photo credit: Wikimedia
“Jimmy Crack Corn” started off as a minstrel number—it was sung by white men with faces painted black and big red smiles drawn on their lips.
When audiences saw it played by a band in cartoonishly racist face paint, they didn’t take it as nonsense. The story was pretty clear. A white man’s horse gets bitten by a blue-tail fly. The horse freaks out and throws him off, killing him.
The song is sung by his slave, who isn’t particularly upset about his master’s death. Instead, he’s making “jim crack corn”—which means corn whiskey—and getting hammered to celebrate a world with one less white slave owner.

3. “Do Your Ears Hang Low” Is A Cleaned-Up Army Song

“Do Your Ears Hang Low” is a silly, slightly rude kid’s song about having ear long enough to tie in a bow and throw over your shoulder. The first record of the song comes from World War I, where a colonel and his battalion were caught singing it. Their version, though, wasn’t about ears—it was called “Do Your Balls Hang Low.”
Other than a few words, the lyrics were more or less the same. Some of the lines, though, like, “Can ya’ sling ‘em o’er your shoulder like a lousyf—ng soldier?” just have that extra visual punch when you’re talking about your balls.

2. “Big Rock Candy Mountain” Is About Getting Molested By Hobos

Photo credit: Wikimedia
“Big Rock Candy Mountain” is loaded full of so much sugary imagery about “lemonade springs where bluebird sings” that it seems like it couldn’t possibly have been written for anyone other than children. The song, though, was first recorded by Harry McClintock, and he says that it’s more than just a kid’s song. It’s about hobos luring children into gay sex—and it’s autobiographical.
As a child, McClintock was lured into panhandling for hobos. “There were times when I fought like a wildcat,” McClinton said, “to preserve my independence and virginity.”

Originally, McClintock included another verse that’s been cut out of most versions. The song ended:
“I’ll be Goddamned if I hike anymore
To be buggered sore like a hobo’s whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.”
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1. “London Bridges Falling Down” Teaches Children How To Perform Human Sacrifices

Photo credit: Thomas Pennant
Originally, “London Bridges” was a game kids would play, where they would hold up their arms like a bridge and catch a child who has to run underneath. According to Alice Gomme, this was more than fun and games—they were acting out a pagan ritual of human sacrifice.
Gomme says that the song is talking about a pagan solution to crumbling bridges. To keep their bridges from collapsing, they would bury a child alive inside. The child’s spirit would protect it, serving as the song’s “watchman.”
The theory is, understandably, pretty controversial. For one thing, there aren’t any kids buried in London’s bridges. Still, Gomme insists that the song isn’t about a specific bridge or child—it’s just talking about a practice in general and might be explaining something darker than it seems.

source article : http://listverse.com/

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