Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

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
All around the town
All Day Long
Something else, to be described in the comments

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.



(Deleted comment)
Feb. 12th, 2013 04:49 am (UTC)
I knew that -- and it was collected originally, I believe -- as "There were ten in the bed and the little one said" (i.e. as humans.) Plainly, with the change in personal circumstances in the Western world, this has been changed to animals. Interesting.
Feb. 12th, 2013 06:08 am (UTC)
I remember the version you do, although perhaps with additional lines added?

There were ten in the bed and the little one said "roll over, roll over",
So they all rolled over and one fell out who bumped his head and gave a shout,
"Please remember, (pause) to tie a knot in your pyjamas"
"Single beds are only meant for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9"

There were nine in the bed etc.

Edited at 2013-02-12 06:09 am (UTC)
Feb. 12th, 2013 08:11 am (UTC)
I don't know that version. Interesting. I wonder when it appeared (the pajamas suggest post War, in any event.)
Feb. 12th, 2013 10:03 am (UTC)
If this became a poll, I'd be voting the same variant as lil_shepherd
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC)
me too
Feb. 12th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
I know Kashmera's version.
Feb. 12th, 2013 11:52 am (UTC)
"Please remember, (pause) to tie a knot in your pyjamas"

The line above to be sung to the tune of the first line of Rule, Britannia, obviously.

I've always sung it as "who bumped his head and blood came out", btw.
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
That's the version I learned at Brownies (80s). The one I'd learnt earlier, from playgroup or my parents or my grandma, didn't have the pyjamas at all and may have gone straight from the falling out to the next verse.
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
Whereas the version I know doesn't specify how large the bed is. Or what the (bears) might be wearing.
Feb. 12th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
This is the version my dad taught me when I was small. They were definitely humans in the bed and there weren't any embellishments regarding pyjamas either.
Feb. 12th, 2013 01:57 pm (UTC)
Annoyingly, it isn't in any of the Opies we own, including Nursery Rhymes. Google isn't much help, either, until you notice that it produced more than a score of children's books based on the song/rhyme. Looks like the embellishments probably came from those!
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
That's it! Thank you!