Lyrical Liberties

Every night I sing my nearly four-year-old son a few songs when I tuck him into bed. He’s got several that he enjoys, but one of his favorites is “The Baker Song.” It’s one my mom used to sing to me, but unlike most of the other songs she sang me (“Chi-baba, Chi-baba,” “I See the Moon,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” etc.), I can’t find it online so I don’t know where it’s from.

Basically it’s about an apprentice baker who wants to try being a pastry chef. He’s obtained his master’s reluctant permission and assembled his first pie.

Then he put it in to bake it
saying, ‘That’s the way to make it,’
and his heart began to swell with awesome pride.

Except now that my son is singing the song along with me, I realize that what he hears is, “…his heart began to swell with sauce and fries.”

While it’s a reasonable description of the influence of diet on the risk of heart disease, my son’s version kind of changes the song from a cautionary tale about striving outside of your station to a cautionary tale about eating rich foods. Which, when I think about it, might be a better message for a 21st-century child to internalize.

CIMG2134

Mmm…sauce and fries…

3 comments

  1. Ellery Davies · June 26, 2013

    There is a story of a short, Mexican immigrant who couldn’t see the baseball game because of the many people standing in front of him. So he climbed a flag pole and looked out over the players. Finally, he could see the entire baseball diamond. But he was amazed to see everyone stand at attention and look at him — even the crowd. They all sang in unison: “Jose, can you see?”

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  2. Debbie · June 25, 2013

    That reminds me of when my son was younger and I started singing him “Frere Jacques” … and my husband and I disagreed on the lyrics. I swore the middle was “Cinnamon-a-tina, cinnamon-a-tina,” but he gave some other very French version of the lyrics. I knew my way was probably a funny misunderstanding of the lyrics, so I asked my mother, who sung the song to me when I was little, to sing it for me, so I could hear the real version. You can imagine the laughter that burst forth from everyone in the room when my mother sung it EXACTLY the same way, delicious baking spice and all. In case you are now wondering, the actual French words are “Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines.”

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    • CJ · June 25, 2013

      I love that your mom sang the “cinnamon-a-tina” lyrics!

      A few years back, I bought my spouse a book about misheard lyrics called, ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy. I actually really enjoy the misheard versions, even if they dramatically change the meaning of a song (and even if I feel really embarrassed when I’m the one mis-singing them).

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