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The Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus go round and round [repeat]... What is the last line, repeated every verse?

All through the town
17(22.7%)
All around the town
3(4.0%)
All Day Long
52(69.3%)
Something else, to be described in the comments
3(4.0%)


Wikipedia describes "The Wheels on the Bus" as a mid-20th century anonymous folk song, with three different possible last lines, repeated every verse.

I grew up with "The Wheels on the Bus" going round and round "all through the town". In retrospect, it seems a song of exploration, checking out the variety of humanity which occupies the wide expanse of the town's many neighborhoods, and thus might also be found on the bus, combined with the inevitable annoyance of fellow passengers and a repetitious song. It's a song from the perspective of a cross-town passenger, in which (as I learned it) the driver on the bus features in the inevitable second verse (saying "Move on Back"), thus clearly marking him/her as yet another character, if one of particular interest, to be encountered when exploring by bus.

Where I am now, everyone knows the last line as "all day long", which transforms it into a song about the weariness of a bus driver's long, long work day, and makes me think of transport unions and labor laws. I keep wanting to know if it was ever used as a picketing song for a transport union. The variety of humanity is now for the bus driver to be endured, rather than to be explored from the perspective of a passenger. Indeed, in none of the (many, many) times I have now heard it around here has the driver ever featured as a character within the song, leaving him/her excluded (at least, in my expectation of hearing that verse), an observer throughout that long, long work day.

That last line entirely recontextualizes the song for me.

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Comments

frandowdsofa
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:06 am (UTC)
Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and broke his head.
Mummy called the doctor
And the doctor said
THAT'S what you get for jumping on the bed!

Nine little monkeys...

I always associated it with Wheels on the bus because I first heard it, in its entirety, several times, while stuck on a double decker somewhere near Finsbury.
retsuko
Feb. 12th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
I've also heard "No More monkeys jumping on the bed!" for the last line.